Consumer spending up

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans increased their spending 0.4 percent in December, a solid pace but slower than the big spending burst seen in November.

The Commerce Department said the result follows a 0.8 percent surge in November. Incomes were up 0.4 percent, helped by a healthy rise in wages that reflects the fact that unemployment is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

A key inflation gauge tracked by the Federal Reserve was up a tiny 0.1 percent in December. It has risen 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, still below the Fed’s 2 percent inflation goal.