March 28, 2014 8:40 AM, EDT
Consumer Spending Increases by Most in Three Months

Consumer spending in the United States rose in February by the most in three months as incomes increased, a sign that economic momentum was returning as Americans recovered from an unusually harsh winter.

Household purchases, which account for almost 70% of the economy, climbed 0.3% after a 0.2% gain in January that was smaller than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed March 28. The median forecast of 79 economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 0.3% gain. Incomes also increased 0.3%.

“Looking past some of the noise in the data, the trend is for modestly stronger personal income and spending, which should accelerate throughout the year as the economy builds momentum,” Michelle Meyer, a senior U.S. economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York, said before the report.

The January reading previously was reported as an increase of 0.4%.

Spending on durable goods, including automobiles, increased 0.1% after adjusting for inflation after a 0.4% drop in January. Purchases of nondurable goods, which include gasoline, gained 0.3%.