WASHINGTON - U.S. consumers increased their spending in October even though their wages and salaries barely increased, raising questions about how strong the economy will grow at the end of the year.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending increased 0.3 percent in October compared with September when spending rose 0.2 percent. Wages and salaries rose a slight 0.1 percent after a much stronger 1 percent rise in September.

Overall income actually fell 0.1 percent following a 0.5 percent rise in September. But September's gain was inflated by a legal settlement that boosted farm income that month, leading to a big decline in farm income in October.

The personal saving rate dipped to 4.8 percent of after-tax income in October, down from 5.2 percent in September, reflecting the difference between spending and income.