Consumer Spending Growth Stalled in May as Autos Sales Slide
Monday, June 27, 2011 12:32 PM

U.S. consumer spending rose marginally in May, probably the weakest since June 2010, reflecting fewer new-car purchases, a sign that gas prices are taking a toll on the economy, and dimmer employment prospects, economists said Monday.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported personal income in May increased $36.2 billion, or 0.3 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $29.2 billion, or 0.2 percent. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $4.6 billion, or less than 0.1 percent.  In April, personal income increased $37.7 billion, or 0.3 percent, DPI increased $27.9 billion, or 0.2 percent, and PCE increased $28.8 billion, or 0.3 percent, based on revised estimates when adjusted for inflation. Real disposable income increased 0.1 percent in May, in contrast to a decrease of 0.1 percent in April.  Real PCE decreased 0.1 percent, the same decrease as in April.

During the month of May, fewer jobs were created. The economy had created only 54,000 jobs in May, the lowest figure in eight months, with unemployment rate rising to 9.1 percent in May.

In May, cars and light trucks sold at an 11.8 million annual rate, the slowest since September, and down from a 13.1 million pace a month earlier, according to researcher Autodata Corp. Shortages of Japanese-made vehicles after the March earthquake along with rise in oil prices reflected the drop in car sales.

Wall Street economists had forecast a 0.3 percent rise in incomes and a 0.1 percent increase in spending.