Forget the coal in your stocking, low gas prices have helped bring about a bit of good economic news this holiday season. The Commerce Department is reporting that consumer spending increased last month for the first time since the spring along with disposable income. The $4 a gallon gas prices that hit this summer are long gone, but experts warn that fuel prices are not likely to fall much further, meaning consumers will have to look elsewhere for relief. "Much of the declines are behind us and won't be a significant event as we go into 2009," said an economist at California State University. 70% of economic activity in the U.S. is powered by consumer spending, so the gains are crucial, especially in this holiday season. The increase indicates that the deep discounts being offered by many retailers are working, at least for now.
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