Americans started spending more in June, even though their income was rising relatively slowly, the Commerce Department said Thursday. It said personal consumption expenditures -- what people spend on consumer goods -- increased at an annual rate of $16.7 billion in June, after two months of decline.
Government analysts called the increase "substantial," larger than the $11 billion monthly average for 1979.
If sustained, the increased purchasing could be one of the "corrective forces" that economists say will ultimately bring an end to the recession.
But other parts of the Commerce Department's report still showed the continuing effects of the economic slowdown. Personal income grew slowly during June, gaining only 0.4 percent.