MIXED BAG

Consumer Spending Increased in July

The two major economic data released on Thursday indicated a mixed picture for the economy – consumers are spending more, but the employment picture isn’t getting much better. The Commerce Department’s personal consumption data – the measure of how much people spend –showed an increase of $46.0 billion, or 0.4 percent, the biggest one-month jump in five months and a 0.5 percent rise from June, which saw a 0.1 percent decrease in consumer spending. The number of initial claims for unemployment held steady at 374,000, but the 4-week moving average increased 370,250, up 1,500 from last week’s average.