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US consumer spending up 0.5 percent in June

WASHINGTON (AP) - Consumers increased their spending in June at the fastest pace in four months even though their income growth slowed.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.5 percent in June compared with May, when spending was up 0.2 percent. It was the best gain since a 0.7 percent rise in February. Income growth slowed to a 0.3 percent rise in June, weaker than May's 0.4 percent gain.

The hope is that strong consumer spending will help boost a lackluster economy to stronger growth in the second half of this year.  But for that to happen, economists say income growth needs to accelerate.

Spending on non-durable goods was up 1.3 percent, reflecting in part rising gas prices, while demand for durable goods rose 0.8 percent, reflecting strength in auto sales.