Personal income growth plummeted to 3.6% in January, the largest one-month drop in 20 years, the Commerce Department said Friday. Disposable income - the money left over after taxes - dropped 4% after adjusting for inflation, the biggest plunge since monthly records began in 1959, Bloomberg News reported. Consumer spending rose just a measly 0.2%, but analysts say that most of those expenditures went toward higher heating bills and filling up the gas tank.
There was a decline in spending, in the month of January, on big-ticket items and durable goods, like cars, appliances, furniture and electronics. Spending on clothing, food and various other non-durable goods, also fell in January.