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Consumer spending slips as income remains flat

WASHINGTON — Americans cut back on spending in April after their income failed to grow, a sign that economic growth may be slowing.

Consumer spending dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in April, the Commerce Department said Friday. That was the first decline since last May.

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A drop in gas prices likely lowered overall spending. Adjusted for inflation, spending ticked up 0.1 percent last month. Still, that was the smallest gain since October.

Consumers also likely spent less to heat their homes last month. April’s weather was mild after an unusually cold March.

Income was unchanged last month, after a 0.3 percent rise in March and 1.2 percent gain in February.

The retrenchment in spending indicates consumers may be starting to feel the impact of higher taxes. But a separate report Friday showed consumer confidence rose to a six-year high in May, suggesting the decline in spending may be temporary.

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