Consumers show biggest spending jump in 5 months

WASHINGTON - Americans boosted their spending by 0.6 percent in April, the biggest increase in five months, while a gauge of inflation remained at the Federal Reserve's optimal level for a second straight month.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that last month's increase in consumer spending was the largest since a 0.7 percent rise last November. The gain is an encouraging sign that consumer spending is beginning to show life after nearly stalling out at the beginning of the year. Economists are hoping a revived consumer sector will support stronger growth in the current quarter.

In another encouraging sign, an inflation measure closely watched by the Fed rose by 2 percent in April, compared to a year ago. That's the second month it has achieved the Fed's target for inflation after years of chronically low price increases.