CHA CHING

Can't Stop the American Shopper

Double-digit unemployment rates in a handful of states and lower income levels across the country didn't stop consumers from increasing their spending in February for the second month in a row. As personal income slipped 0.2 percent, consumption rose 0.2 percent. The boosts in spending during the first two months of this year come after six months of declines in 2008. "It is too early to bet on a consumer renaissance, because consumers are still facing severe headwinds from declining employment and reduced wealth, but the worst appears to be behind us," one analyst hoped. The savings rate, meanwhile, remained above 4 percent.