Consumer spending in the U.S. rose 0.3% in July, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.4% increase. Spending looks firmer underneath the surface as the government revised consumer spending in June to an increase of 0.3%, compared with an original estimate of 0.2% growth. Meanwhile, personal income rose 0.4% for the fourth straight month. Wages and salaries rose 0.5% in July, the biggest gain since last November. Higher income relative to spending boosted the savings rate to 4.9% in July from 4.7% in the prior month. Inflation as gauged by the PCE price index increased 0.1% in July. The PCE index has risen just 0.3% in the past 12 months. The core PCE index that excludes food and energy, meanwhile, advanced 0.2% in July, and it's up 1.2% over the past year, down from 1.3% in June. This is the lowest level since March 2011.
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