Auto sales help spur spending increase

March 30, 2012 12:00 AM

A report by the Commerce Department indicates that consumer spending rose by 0.8 percent in February, the largest gain in seven months, reports Bloomberg.

Many analysts say that the auto industry is one of the chief reasons for the growth, as new car sales were particularly strong in February. Consumer confidence is also on the rise, although high gas prices have restrained the figure somewhat.

The rise in spending is part of an overall upswing for the economy, with increased job growth helping consumers make purchases they may have been putting off, such as new cars.

"Consumers do seem to have some decent income growth, so that's positive for consumer spending," Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, told the news source. "Overall, the gas drag this year is not as important as it was last year. The recovery is less vulnerable to being blown off course."

Consumers that are beginning to spend again may want to invest in auto maintenance, especially if they put it off to save money during the economic downturn. Vehicles without regular oil changes and tune-ups may be prone to more significant car repairs, which can be expensive on a tight budget.

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