Personal Consumption Expenditures in March up 6.6%, compared to year ago, Commerce Department

Measure includes cost of food, energy
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Sign on facade at Lululemon athleisure clothing store on Santana Row in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, December 14, 2019.
Lululemon store
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Americans' spending on goods increased in March by 6.6%, compared to a year ago, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The annualized increases last month for so-called "personal consumption expenditures" in the report marked the fastest pace since January 1982, according to CNBC.

The measure includes the cost of food and energy.

A second measure, core personal consumption expenditures, which does not include food and sharply rising energy products, showed an annualized increase last month of 5.2%.

The Federal Reserve closely watches the "core" increase to gauge the rate of inflation and in deciding whether to raise interest rates in an effort to cool the economy.

The central bank has signaled its intention to raise interest rates by half a percentage in May.

The core increase was slightly less than the forecasted 5.3%, which was the annualized rate in February and the highest since April 1983, also according to CNBC

On Thursday, the department's Bureau of Economic Analysis, which also puts out the personal consumption expenditures report, said the United States' gross domestic product, the broadest measure of U.S. economic growth, declined 1.4% in the first quarter.