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US consumer spending up 0.5 percent in November

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans increased their spending in November by the most in five months, and their income edged up modestly.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.5 percent from October, when spending had risen 0.4 percent. It was the best showing since June. The gain was driven by a jump in spending on long-lasting durable goods such as autos.

Consumers' income rose 0.2 percent, an improvement from a 0.1 percent decline in October. Wages and salaries, the most important component of income, rose a solid 0.4 percent. The gain reflected strength in the private sector and a modest gain in government pay.

Consumer spending is closely followed because it accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. The strong November showing could be a sign of solid economic growth this quarter.