First-time jobless claims rise

More workers applied for jobless benefits and consumer spending slowed in December, as automakers cut back on free financing deals.
The Labor Department reported the number of workers filing first time jobless claims rose by 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 390,000 for the week that ended Jan. 26, from 360,000 a week earlier.
That increase in jobless claims was closely in line with Wall Street expectations, and many economists were relieved to see the number of initial claims remained well below the key recessionary 400,000 mark for four straight weeks.
The Commerce Department reported consumer spending, the key underpinning of the economy, fell 0.2 percent in December, declining for the second straight month.
Personal income grew in December at its strongest pace since Summer, the Commerce Department said.