NEW YORK, United States — US consumer spending stalled in March while inflation slowed to below the Federal Reserve’s target, showing the biggest part of the economy might take more time to gain momentum after a tepid start to the year.
Purchases were little changed in both March and February from their prior months, Commerce Department figures showed Monday. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.2 percent advance. Incomes rose 0.2 percent, with falling prices applying a drag on the nominal figures.
The figures were foreshadowed in Friday’s report on gross domestic product that showed the slowest first quarter for household spending since 2009. Analysts are expecting the consumer to bounce back, as there’s still plenty for Americans to cheer about in the economic outlook, including a steady job market.
“Spending numbers were soft in February and March, but it’s not necessarily the end of the world,” since the figures follow a strong fourth quarter, said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James Financial Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida. “If we don’t see a rebound in the numbers we get for April and May, that would be concerning. But the fundamentals are still sound for the consumer.”
The Bloomberg survey median called for incomes to rise 0.3 percent. Wages rose 0.1 percent in March after a 0.5 percent gain the prior month.
Disposable income, or the money remaining after taxes,…