Consumer spending rises slightly in February, though falls in real dollars

Joseph Lazzaro

The U.S. consumer's belt tightening resumes. Although consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in February, real consumer spending (which takes inflation into account) actually fell 0.2 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Friday.

Both figures suggest a return to consumer frugality after a brief respite in January, when consumer spending showed real growth. A Bloomberg News survey had forecast an 0.3 percent rise in February consumer spending, after a 0.7 percent rise in January.