Americans' personal income declined 0.2 percent in November, falling from unusually high October levels caused by bonuses to auto workers and a surge in farm subsidy payments, the government said Wednesday.
The Commerce Department said income fell $8.2 billion to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $4.18 trillion last month, following a gain of 1.7 percent in October, which had been the largest in a year. November's decline was the first since January, when incomes dropped 0.4 percent.Excluding the distorting effects of the two special factors, personal income rose 0.6 percent in November and 0.8 percent in October, both fairly strong gains.
Meanwhile, personal consumption spending, which includes everything except interest payments on debt, rose 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $3.32 trillion last month after a robust 1.0 percent gain a month earlier.
The biggest increase in spending last month was for durable goods - "big ticket" items expected to last three or more years. The category rose 1.5 percent, followed by a 0.6 percent increase for non-durable goods and a 0.3 percent rise in spending for services.
With spending rising faster than income in November, the personal savings rate - savings as a percentage of after-tax income - was 4.3 percent, down from 5.2 percent in October.
Disposable, or after-tax income, declined 0.3 percent in November following a 1.7 percent gain a month earlier. It was the first decline since April, when annual income tax payments depressed personal income by 1.4 percent.