The nation's economy grew a bit in August, but at the expense of individual savings. The U.S. Commerce Department reported this morning that consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in August, following a 0.7 percent increase in July. But consumers earned and saved less in August for the first time in nearly two years. The savings rate fell to its lowest level since late 2009. The new report suggested Americans tapped their savings to buy food staples and gasoline.
Incomes also dropped, falling 0.1 percent. That's the poorest showing since a similar 0.1 percent drop in October 2009.
But the sting from the weak income report was softened a bit by solid factory activity in the Midwest in September. The Institute for Supply Management in Chicago said its business barometer rose to 60.4. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion.