Consumer spending drops 0.4%, first decline since April

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer spending fell 0.4% in November, the first decline since April, as Americans confronted a newly resurgent virus.

The November decline followed a 0.3% gain in October and even bigger increases starting in May, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday, as the country emerged from a pandemic lockdown that had been imposed to try to stop the spread of the virus. The last decline was 12.7% fall in April during the lockdown.

Personal incomes fell 1.1% in November, the third drop in the past four months as various government relief programs have been expiring.

Inflation as measured by a gauge preferred by the Federal Reserve showed a modest 1.1% gain in November, well below the Fed’s 2% target.