Consumer spending modest during November

The nation’s economic recovery continues to move at a slow but steady rate, as according to the Commerce Department, consumer spending notched up slightly higher in November from October.

The report shows a 0.1 increase in consumer spending during the month – considerably less of a rise than economists polled by Reuters said there would be for November. After adjusting for inflation, spending hiked 0.2 percent on a monthly basis.

One economic analyst told the New York Times the report indicates mixed news regarding the state of the economy as 2011 comes to an end.

“It appears we have a little more consumer spending but less investment spending than we thought,” John Ryding, chief economist at the New York-based RDQ Economics, told the newspaper. “However, we expect those two developments to cancel each other out. At this point we still look for real G.D.P. growth in the fourth quarter of around 3 percent.”

The Federal Reserve said in a statement on December 13 that economic growth is moving at a modest pace, but needs to be better for a recovery to take place.

“The economy has been expanding moderately, notwithstanding some apparent slowing in global growth,” the Fed said “Household spending has continued to advance, but business fixed investment appears to be increasing less rapidly and the housing sector remains depressed.”

While various effects from the economic crisis have mostly kept consumer spending at or near record-low levels, this year’s holiday shopping season has been one of the strongest in years.

Aside from the typically healthy Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, reports say Super Saturday shopping led to new sales records. Consumers spent roughly $26 billion on this year’s Super Saturday, which was December 17 – approximately $1 billion more than the previous record which was set in 2007.

Though many consumers are finally spending, a number of residents nationwide are still struggling to make ends meet, let alone pay for holiday presents. These consumers may want to meet with credit counselors to get a hold of their debt issues and personal finances.