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U.S. Inflation-Adjusted Consumer Spending Unexpectedly Rose in March

  • Services outlays rise as Americans reduce goods purchases
  • Inflation gauge picks up while core measure decelerates
A shopper views gowns for sale at a store inside a mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
A shopper views gowns for sale at a store inside a mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.Photographer: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg
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U.S. inflation-adjusted consumer spending rose in March despite intense price pressures, indicating households still have solid appetites and wherewithal for shopping.

Purchases of goods and services, adjusted for changes in prices, increased 0.2% from the prior month, following a 0.1% gain in February that was revised from a previously reported decline, according to Commerce Department figures Friday. The gain was driven by services, while merchandise buying dropped, signaling a shift in consumer behavior as pandemic concerns wane.