U.S. Economy Again Shows Signs of Stalling

Income and spending numbers are lousy


Consumers spent more in March without raiding savings accounts, despite a smaller-than-expected bump in income, but the data still point to a slowly growing economy on the verge of stalling.

Spending climbed just 0.2% in March after a 0.7% surge in February, the Commerce Department said Monday. But that was better than forecasts for 0.1%.

Personal income also rose 0.2%, down from 1.1% in the prior month and below expectations for 0.4% growth. And while consumers didn't dip into rainy-day funds, they didn't add much to them either. The savings rate held at a modest 2.7%.

Lower gas prices probably helped households stay out of their savings accounts, said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. But that's not a sustainable path to growth.

"I focus on that wage and salary number, and it needs to be a lot higher than that to really get the economy moving," he said.