Coronavirus sends U.S. consumer spending into record fall in MarchCoronavirus sends U.S. consumer spending into record fall in March
FILE PHOTO: The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York

(Reuters) – U.S. consumer spending plunged by the most on record in March on the back of stay-at-home orders across much of the country to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, tumbled 7.5% last month after rising 0.2% in February. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast consumer spending falling 5.0% in March.

The drop was more than three times larger than the previous record decline of 2.1% in January 1987. The Commerce Department began tracking the data in 1959.

(Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)