Consumer spending in the U.S. climbed more than forecast in January, reflecting the biggest increase in services in over 12 years as Americans began to enroll for the Obama administration’s health-care program.
Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, rose 0.4 percent, after a 0.1 percent gain the prior month that was smaller than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 76 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.1 percent rise. Incomes (PITLCHNG) advanced 0.3 percent.
Outlays on services were boosted by $29 billion at an annual rate in January based on estimates of Medicaid benefits and enrollments in the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, the Commerce Department said. Improvement in hiring and rising wealth underpinned by housing and stock-market gains will keep providing consumers with the means to spend on a broader swathe of goods and services that will boost economic growth.
“Consumer spending had OK momentum” in January, Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, said before the report. “We expect to see better job growth in the spring. More people with jobs means more money to spend.”
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