Americans cut spending for first time in 20 months

August 2, 2011

The Associated Press

(AP/Mark Lennihan)
The Commerce Department says consumer spending dropped 0.2 percent in June.

Americans cut back on their spending in June for the first time in nearly two years and their incomes grew by the smallest amount in nine months, a troubling sign for an economy that is barely growing.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending dropped 0.2 percent in June. Excluding falling prices for such items as energy and food, consumer spending would have been unchanged in June.

Incomes rose 0.1 percent. It was the weakest growth in income since September, reflecting anemic hiring this spring. 

High gas prices and unemployment have squeezed household budgets this spring, leading to tepid overall economic growth in the April-June quarter.