The Commerce Department reported Friday that consumer spending edged up just 0.2% in October, weakest showing since a similar increase in June. And individual incomes grew just 0.2%, poorest showing in six months.
A separate Commerce report showed thatspending fell 0.8% last month, biggest decline since July. Activity in the besieged housing industry fell for a 20th straight month while non-residential construction also weakened.
The figures on consumer spending and construction raised new worries about spreading economic weakness caused by the steepest slump in housing in more than 20 years and a widening credit crisis triggered by rising mortgage defaults. Consumers are also being battered by surging prices for gasoline and other energy.