U.S. consumer spending rose for a seventh straight month in September, fueled by the highest consumer confidence since 2000 and a near 50-year low in the unemployment rate. Despite modest growth in wages and income, consumer spending is expected to continue growing amid the strong economic climate. The National Retail Federation recently projected U.S. consumers will spend an average of $1,007.24 on holiday gifts and merchandise this season, up 4.1 percent over last year's $967.13.