WASHINGTON - Personal income rose $61.3 billion or 0.5% in December, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

The gain was the largest since February 2011, when personal income was up 0.6 %. The December increase followed a 0.1% gain in November and was greater than the median 0.4% increase estimated by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

Personal spending fell slightly, $2.0 billion, or less than 0.1% in December, and was called unchanged by Commerce. That decrease followed a 0.1% gain in November. That contrasted with a 0.1% increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

Core PCE grew 0.2% in the month, and 1.8% in the year.

Disposable personal income increased 0.3% in December, following a decrease of less than 0.1% in November.

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