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September consumer spending weakens while incomes dip

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Americans slowed their spending in September to the weakest pace in three months and their incomes fell for the first time in 14 months.

Personal spending rose at an annual rate of 0.2 percent in September, the Commerce Department said Monday. That's below the 0.5-percent gains recorded in July and August.

Incomes fell 0.1 percent in September, following a 0.4-percent rise in August that had been pushed higher by the return of extended unemployment benefits.

The weak growth in spending and incomes underscored how fragile the economy remains. Consumers facing high unemployment and slow job growth remain reluctant to spend.

The drop in incomes was the first decline since incomes fell 0.3 percent in July 2009. The August gain had been skewed by the reinstatement of an extended unemployment benefits program, which had temporarily lapsed in July after Republicans had blocked an extension.

Consumer spending is watched closely because it accounts for 70 percent of total economic activity.

The government reported Friday that the economy grew at an annual rate of 2 percent in the July-September quarter. That's only slightly better than 1.7-percent growth in the April-June quarter.

Many economists believe that growth in the current quarter will be little changed from the third quarter.

Consumer spending had helped boost third-quarter growth. It was the best showing since a 4.1-percent rise in consumer spending at the end of 2006, before a severe recession hit.

However, Monday's report suggested the strength occurred in July and August and that spending slowed considerably in September.

The savings rate fell to 5.3 percent in September, the lowest rate since August 2009. But it is still well above the 2.1-percent average savings rate for all of 2007.

An inflation gauge tied to consumer spending rose a slight 0.1 percent in September and was flat after excluding volatile food and energy.

In response to the weak economy, the Federal Reserve this week is expected to announce a program to buy Treasury bonds. The effort is designed to drive interest rates lower and spur economic activity.

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  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

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