Consumer Spending Plummets As Crack Hit From Cash For Clunkers Runs Out

Consumer spending tumbled 0.5% in September with the end of the “cash for clunkers” auto trade-in program while incomes remained flat, according to a Commerce Department report that raised concerns that the economic recovery could lose steam in the absence of government help.

The fall in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of economic activity, was largely attributed to reduced car sales a month after the “cash for clunkers” program ran out of money. Spending on durable goods — products, including cars, which are designed to last more than three years — fell 7.2% from a month earlier.

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