WASHINGTON — Personal income rose 0.3% and personal spending increased 0.4% in November as spending on core expenditures expanded by the smallest amount on record, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Core PCE, which excludes food and energy spending, is the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation. It was up 0.8% in November from a year ago.

October’s core PCE figure was revised downward to an 0.8% annual increase from the originally reported rise of 0.9%. Both monthly figures are the lowest on record for the core, dating back to 1960.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters forecast gains of 0.2% for income and 0.5% for consumption in November.

“The first two months of the fourth quarter are now looking very strong,” Chris G. Christopher, Jr., an economist at IHS Global Insight, said in a research note. “Heavy discounting by retailers, relatively good employment numbers, an increasing stock market, easing of credit conditions, and higher disposable income are spurring a spending spree and increased consumer confidence, despite a poor housing market and high gasoline prices.”

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