09/29/2014 08:33 EDT | Updated 11/29/2014 05:59 EST

US consumer spending climbed healthy 0.5 per cent in August, while income up 0.3 per cent

WASHINGTON - Americans boosted spending by a healthy amount in August, with about half of the increase coming from auto sales. Income rose by a modest amount.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.5 per cent in August after showing no gain in July. It was the best result since spending also expanded 0.5 per cent in June. Helped by strength in wages and salaries, income rose 0.3 per cent in August, slightly faster than a 0.2 per cent July increase.

The spending gain was welcome evidence that the economy is maintaining strength in the current July-September quarter. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 per cent of economic activity, and the slowdown in July had raised concerns about whether the economy would retain the momentum it showed in the spring after a harsh winter.