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December 24, 2010    

US consumer spending rises for fifth consecutive month

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by Kay Murchie

According to the Commerce Department, consumer spending in the US rose 0.4% in November compared with the previous month.

The rise represented the fifth consecutive monthly gain, raising hopes that the world’s largest economy is on the road to recovery.

Consumer spending makes up for more than two-thirds of overall economic activity in the US and is therefore closely monitored.

In the meantime, October’s figure was revised upwards from 0.4% to 0.7%, suggesting economic growth for the fourth quarter will be strong.

Earlier this week, the Commerce Department revealed the US economy grew by an annualised 2.6% in the July to September period – slightly higher than the second estimate of 2.5% but much faster than the first estimate of 2%.

However, the growth rate was less than the 3% most analysts had expected.

The biggest hurdle facing the US currently is the rising unemployment rate – which climbed 0.2% last month to 9.8%.

The rate has now exceeded the 9% mark since May 2009 – the longest period of time on record.

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