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Consumer spending posts best annual gain since 2007

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer spending rose more than expected in December as Americans spent at the fastest pace in three years. The Commerce Department reported that spending rose 0.7% in December, the sixth straight monthly increase.

For all of 2010, consumers boosted spending 3.5%, the best performance since pre-recession 2007, when spending rose 5.2%. The government reported that consumer spending rose at a 4.4% rate in the final three months of 2010.

Many economists expect a cut in Social Security taxes will lift January's spending and incomes even further that last month.