U.S. personal income in November rose for an eighth straight month on solid wage gains, which should support consumer spending and bolster economic growth next year.
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The Commerce Department said on Wednesday income increased 0.3 percent last month after an unrevised 0.4 percent rise in October. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast income advancing 0.2 percent last month.
Wages and salaries rose 0.5 percent, adding to a 0.6 percent gain in October. A tightening labor market, marked by an unemployment rate that is in a range some Federal Reserve officials consider consistent with full employment, is starting to lift wages.
The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis inadvertently released part of the consumption portion of its report late on Tuesday. It showed consumer spending increased 0.3 percent last month after being unchanged in October.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 0.3 percent when adjusted for inflation after holding steady in October.
While consumer spending is likely running below the third-quarter's annualized brisk pace of 3.0 percent, November's increase could prompt economists to modestly lift their fourth-quarter gross domestic product estimates.
GDP growth estimates for the final three months of the year have been hovering around a 2 percent rate, the same pace of growth in the third quarter.
With spending outpacing income, savings fell to $747.6 billion. Still, they remain at lofty levels.
Inflation continued to run below the Fed's 2 percent target last month. A price index for consumer spending was unchanged after nudging up 0.1 percent in October.
In the 12 months through November, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index was up 0.4 percent after rising 0.2 percent in October.
Excluding food and energy, prices nudged up 0.1 percent after being unchanged in October. The so-called core PCE price index rose 1.3 percent in the 12 months through November, for the 11th straight month.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)