The Federal Reserve Board reported that the nation's industrial production rose by a full 1 percent in September, the largest monthly increase since May 1979. The increase reflected gains in the production of consumer durable goods, particularly automobiles, and construction supplies -- two areas hardest hit by the recession. The 1 percent increase in September follows a 0.6 percent increase in August.
Meanwhile, personal income continued to rise, and for the first time in several months consumer spending increased at a slower rate than income, the Commerce Department said. It reported that personal income increased 0.9 percent in September to an adjusted annual rate of $2.16 trillion. That follows a 0.7 percent increase in August.
The department also said Americans increased their consumer spending by 0.7 percent in September, up $10.9 billion from the previous month. The figures indicate Americans may be spending their money more cautiously and saving more.
The government said the 0.7 percent increase in personal expenditures in September -- a smaller increase than the previous month -- reflected a decline in major consumer purchases such as autos. But purchases of smaller, nondurable items increased $5.6 billion over the month, compared with a $6.4 billion increase in August.