U.S. consumers cut back sharply in spending on durable goods such as autos in March, leaving overall spending unchanged for a second straight month. The slowdown in consumer activity was a major reason overall economic growth slowed so sharply in the winter.
The Commerce Department says consumer spending was unchanged in March after also being flat in February and posting only a modest rise of 0.2 percent in January. For the January-March quarter the sharp slowdown in consumer spending was a key reason growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, slowed to an annual rate of just 0.7 percent, the poorest performance in three years.
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Economists believe growth will bounce back in the current April-June period, helped by continued strong job gains, rising wages and increased consumer confidence.