Personal income up 1.1% in Maine, highest in region

Total personal income in Maine grew 1.1 percent from the second quarter of 2013 to the third quarter, putting Maine first among the six New England states and 17th nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said Monday.

Income growth in Maine outpaced the 0.6 percent increase from the first quarter to the second quarter of this year, the bureau said in a news release.

The largest contributor was net earnings, which increased 0.8 percent in the third quarter, the highest rate in New England and above the national rate of 0.7 percent, the bureau said. Job growth was a major factor in the increase.

From an industry standpoint, the largest contributors to Maine’s increase in earnings were retail trade and construction, with income growth of $42 million and $38 million, respectively.

Maine’s income growth mirrored that of the nation. Personal income for the U.S. grew 1.1 percent from the second to the third quarter, the bureau said.

Durable goods lead surge in consumer spending

Americans increased their spending in November by the most in five months, and their income edged up modestly.

Consumer spending rose 0.5 percent from October, when spending had risen 0.4 percent, the Commerce Department said Monday. It was the best showing since June. The gain was driven by a jump in spending on long-lasting durable goods such as autos.

Consumer spending is closely followed because it accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity. The strong November showing suggests solid economic growth this quarter.

Hyundai, Kia agree to pay for overstating gas mileage

Hyundai and its sister company Kia said Monday that they will pay up to $395 million to consumers as part of a proposed settlement over overstated gas mileage.

The Environmental Protection Agency found inflated numbers on 13 Hyundai and Kia vehicles in November 2012.

Hyundai and Kia acknowledged the problem, changed the fuel economy numbers and blamed a procedural error. Since then, Hyundai and Kia have been compensating owners with payments of around $88 annually.

— From staff and news services