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Consumer spending climbs by 0.1 percent in November

Jan 06, 2012 Philip Burgess

Consumer spending made tepid improvements in November, despite record-breaking retail sales around Thanksgiving weekend. While few economists are expected a double-dip recession to emerge in the fourth quarter or coming months, the news may drive analysts to scale back their estimates of economic growth. The U.S. Commerce Department reported on Friday that consumer spending increased by 0.1 percent in November, flouting projections of 0.3 percent growth as wages and salaries tumbled by 0.1 percent over the same period. Despite the mild improvement, the report suggested a return to frugality and unwillingness to incur major debt. "The consumer is moderately upbeat but we’re not out of the woods yet," John Herrmann, a senior fixed-income strategist at State Street Global Markets, told Reuters. "As the bonus allowance is expiring, we have seen a slight cooling of the orders book for manufacturing, and the slowing in the euro zone seems to be impacting manufacturing on the margin." Lenders have been leveraging additional consumer credit risk management policies to inform their credit decisions and stave off fears from the European debt crisis.