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Feb 1, 2010 10:09 AM by Associated Press

Personal incomes, consumer spending up in December

Personal incomes rose more than expected in December and consumer spending increased for the third straight month, helping the economy slowly recover from the worst recession in decades.

The Commerce Department said Monday that incomes rose by 0.4 percent, the sixth increase in a row. That's slightly better than analysts' expectations of 0.3 percent growth.

Consumer spending, meanwhile, have increased by 0.2 percent, less than analysts' forecasts of 0.3 percent. The department also revised November's figure to show a 0.7 percent increase in spending, higher than the initial estimate of 0.5 percent.

Consumer spending is closely watched because it accounts for about 70 percent of total economic activity.

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