Consumer spending in August turned in the weakest performance in six months, underscoring the threat the economy faces as the government's stimulus program fades into the past.
The Commerce Department reported Monday that consumer spending was unchanged in August, even worse than the small 0.2 percent gain economists had expected. It was the weakest showing since spending was also flat in February.
Personal incomes were up a better-than-expected 0.5 percent, a rebound after a 0.6 percent drop in July. After-tax incomes, which felt the impact of the stimulus program to a greater extent, dropped by 0.9 percent, however.
The government pumped out the bulk of $92 billion in stimulus payments from late April through mid-July. Another $1 billion in payments were made in August but this was far below the monthly peak of $48.1 billion in payments made in May.