WASHINGTON - Personal income remained virtually unchanged in October, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The flat October followed an unrevised 0.4% gain the previous month. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had estimated that personal income would rise 0.3%.

Personal spending fell $20.2 billion, or 0.2%, in October. That decrease followed an unrevised 0.8% uptick the previous month and contrasted with the economists' prediction of a 0.1% increase.

The 0.2% decline equaled the drop in May 2012, and that figure represents the largest since a 0.9% decline in September 2009. Personal spending rose 1.7% above October 2011.

Disposable personal income increased $0.8 billion, or less than 0.1% in October, following a gain of 0.4%  in September. Real disposable income, which is adjusted to remove price changes, fell 0.1% after rising slightly the previous month. The core PCE, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.1% after climbing that same amount in September.

The October estimates reflect the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall on Oct. 29  and ultimately affected 24 states. Work interruptions reduced wages and salaries by an annual rate of about $18 billion, the Department said.

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