U.S. consumer spending rose seven-tenths of a percent in December, perhaps showing that the economic recovery is gaining momentum.

Monday’s report from the Commerce Department shows that consumer spending rose for the sixth month in a row. Economists watch consumer spending closely because consumer demand drives most U.S. economic activity.

Personal incomes also rose slightly, which could help consumer spending.

A separate report from an industry group showed businesses in the U.S. Midwest are expanding at the fastest pace in decades. Economists say that data may signal the rate of business expansion nationwide.

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