U.S. Consumer Spending Sees Its Largest Increase in 5 Months

May 31, 2018, 3:16 PM UTC
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Vehicles sit on display for sale at a General Motors Co. Chevrolet car dealership in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. General Motors Co. is scheduled to release earnings figures on February 6. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Luke Sharrett—Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. consumer spending surged by 0.6% in April—the largest increase in five months, according to the Department of Commerce.

Last month’s increase in consumer spending was the largest increase since November 2017, when the country saw a 0.7% rise, the AP reported. This was preceded by a 0.5% increase in March.

The 0.6% increase stands in stark contrast to the very beginning of the year, when the Department of Commerce reported that consumer spending gained a measly 0.2% in January, or a loss of 0.1% when adjusted for inflation.

The rise in spending was accompanied by a 0.3% increase in the purchase of durable goods, as well as a 0.9% increase in spending on non-durable goods.

While consumer spending rose, so did the strength of the labor market; the unemployment rate reached 3.9% in April, a 17-year low, according to the Department of Labor. It also reported on Thursday that the week of May 26 saw a decrease of 13,000 unemployment insurance claims, from 234,000 to 221,000. The department will release a full unemployment report on Friday.