US consumer spending was unchanged in May, the first time there has been no growth since September 2009.Adjusted for inflation, spending contracted by 0.1% compared with the month before, according to the Commerce Department.
Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of US economic activity.
Incomes grew by 0.3% in the month, which was 0.1% above the rate of inflation, reversing a 0.1% inflation-adjusted decline in April.
"While there are no major surprises, there is little good news in this report," said David Sloan at IFR Economics.
"The data does show that core inflationary pressures have gained some momentum."
Falling car sales were partly blamed for unchanged consumer spending, which may be partly connected to production shortfalls following the disruption to car parts producers caused by Japan's earthquake and tsunami.
Also, petrol prices peaked at more than $4 a gallon in May, but have since fallen back, which economists say may increase consumer spending in the following months.
"It was a little bit of a blow to consumers from the higher energy prices and the supply chain issues," said Stephen Stanley at Pierpont Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.
"We'll see a nice rebound in third-quarter GDP on the back of full production in the auto industry."
April's figure was also downgraded to show a 0.3% growth in spending, which equates to a 0.1% decline after inflation is taken into account.