Business

US consumers keep spending despite higher taxes

Consumers spent 3.2 percent more on an annual basis in the January-March quarter than in the previous quarter, the biggest jump in two years, the government says.
Consumers spent 3.2 percent more on an annual basis in the January-March quarter than in the previous quarter, the biggest jump in two years, the government says.Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — This year got off to a sour start for US workers: Their pay, already gasping to keep pace with inflation, was suddenly shrunk by a Social Security tax increase.

Which raised a worrisome question: Would consumers stop spending and further slow the economy? Nope. Not yet, anyway.

On Friday, the government said consumers spent 3.2 percent more on an annual basis in the January-March quarter than in the previous quarter. And in a report Monday, the government said consumers increased their spending in each month, by 0.2 percent in March, 0.7 percent in February and 0.3 percent in January.

The spending increases highlighted a broader improvement in Americans’ financial health that is blunting the impact of the tax increase and raising hopes for more sustainable growth.

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