Still, high gas prices were a big reason for the spending gains. Economists are concerned that if energy costs keep going up, it will cut into household budgets and leave consumers with less money to spend on other items.
Consumer spending is closely watched because it accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. It grew at an annual rate of 4 percent in the October-December quarter, the fastest pace in four years. But higher oil prices are threatening to sap some of that momentum this year.
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