Americans' Incomes Bump Up in February

March 31, 2005 ( - Americans' incomes, bolstered by strong gains in hiring, rose by 0.3% in February, the government reported Thursday.

The 0.3% rise in incomes was attributed to a surge of 262,000 new jobs in February, the biggest increase in four months, according to an Associated Press report. Further solid gains in both incomes and consumer spending are expected in the months ahead as the consumer continues to be a driving force in the economy.

The 0.3% increase in incomes in February followed two months of huge swings. Incomes had soared by 3.7% in December, reflecting a one-time $32 billion dividend payment to stockholders by computer software giant Microsoft Corp., only to drop by 2.5% in January. Without the dividend payment, incomes would have grown by 0.6% in December and 0.4% in January.

Disposable income, the amount left over after taxes, grew by 0.3% in February.