Tag: personal income

Personal Spending was Flat in April

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending was flat in April, falling back after growing 0.5 percent in March. In general, we have seen softer purchase levels over the past six months, with the year-over-year pace of personal consumption falling from 4.3 percent in November to 2.8 percent in April. The good news is that this still represents a modest pace of growth. Yet, this softer-than-desired level of spending mirrors consumer anxieties about income and labor market growth, and it corresponds with weaknesses in the larger economy year-to-date. For manufacturers, this has translated into sluggish spending on goods, with durable and nondurable goods spending down 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, in April. (continue reading…)

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Personal Spending Picked Up a Little in March, but Income Growth was Flat

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending rose 0.4 percent in March. As such, consumer spending accelerated from February’s 0.2 percent gain and declines in December and January. From a manufacturing perspective, both durable and nondurable goods spending were higher in March, up 1.8 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. While this is encouraging, particularly if it is the beginning of a rebound, these data also show just how weak consumer spending on goods has been in the first quarter, down 2.2 percent from the fourth quarter. Indeed, the year-over-year pace of personal spending growth has fallen from 4.3 percent in October to 3.0 percent in March. The good news is that this spill represents a modest pace of growth. (continue reading…)

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Personal Spending Fell in January for the Second Straight Month

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending decreased by 0.2 percent in January, falling for the second straight month. Durable and nondurable goods spending were also lower in both December and January, and these data suggest that Americans remain cautious in their spending. Of course, there could also be other factors at play, such as lower gasoline prices and heavy snow storms in some regions of the country. Still, on a year-over-year basis, personal spending has increased 3.6 percent, a fairly decent growth rate. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – February 9, 2015

Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report: 

Manufacturers in the United States have added roughly 18,800 workers per month on average over the past 13 months, with an average of 29,000 from October through January. This suggests that the momentum in demand and production in the second half of 2014 has led to an uptick in hiring, which is encouraging. Income growth was also higher, with average weekly earnings up 2.0 percent year-over-year in January. At the same time, the larger economy has also seen strong growth, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by nearly 260,000 per month since the end of 2013. The unemployment rate edged up to 5.7 percent, however, as more Americans re-entered the labor force looking for work. The participation rate rose from 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent. (continue reading…)

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Personal Spending Fell in December

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending fell 0.3 percent in December, the first decline in consumer activity since January. In so doing, the year ended as it begun, with softer personal spending. January’s decline was lower, however, because of winter conditions; whereas, the decrease in December appears to be due to lingering caution. Consumer purchases of durable and nondurable goods were off 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The surprising part of this data is that the decline in personal spending in December came at a time when consumer confidence and personal income growth were both moving higher, but perhaps that signals better spending data in the months ahead. On the positive side, personal spending rose 3.6 percent in 2014, which was decent pace overall. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – December 1, 2014

Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report: 

The U.S. economy grew 3.9 percent at the annual rate in the third quarter, according to revised real GDP data released last week. This was better than the 3.5 percent original estimate, and more importantly, it suggests real GDP increased at an annualized 4.2 percent over the past two quarters. The report highlighted a number of positive elements in the economy, including healthy increases in consumer and business spending, goods exports and end-of-fiscal-year government spending. The revision also included better inventory replenishment numbers than originally estimated. (continue reading…)

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Personal Income and Spending Both Rose 0.2 Percent in October

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending rose 0.2 percent in October, an improvement from being flat in September. This was slower than the 0.5 percent growth observed in August, however. Indeed, we have seen the year-over-year rate of spending growth fall from 4.2 percent in August to 3.6 percent in October. Still, this is a decent figure, indicating modest growth in consumer purchasing. In October, the increased spending occurred primarily with nondurable goods (up 0.2 percent) and services (up 0.3 percent). Durable goods orders (down 0.2 percent) fell for the second straight month. (continue reading…)

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Personal Spending Was Cautious in the Third Quarter, with Declines in September

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending declined 0.2 percent in September, somewhat offsetting the 0.5 percent gain observed in August. Third quarter spending on consumer goods and services will go down as the slowest since the second quarter of 2012, up 1.5 percent at the annual rate. This suggests that Americans were more cautious in their spending behavior in the quarter than we might have preferred. In September, durable goods spending fell 2.0 percent in September, essentially counterbalancing the 2.1 percent gain of August. Weaker auto sales were likely behind the September decline. Nondurable goods purchases decreased for the second straight month, down 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, in August and September. (continue reading…)

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Personal Spending Rebounded in August from Cautiousness in July

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending rebounded in August after being unchanged in July. Personal spending increased 0.5 percent in August. Aside from the brief pause in July, consumers have been more willing to open their wallets since the weather-related storms in January. Indeed, since January, personal spending has risen 2.7 percent, with 4.1 percent growth year-over-year. The August consumption figure was boosted by strength in durable goods spending, which rose 1.8 percent for the month.

Meanwhile, personal income was also modestly higher, up 0.3 percent in August. Over the past 12 months, personal incomes have expanded by 4.3 percent. For manufacturers, total wages and salaries increased from $786.1 billion in July to $789.7 billion in August. This continues an upward trend for compensation in the sector, with average wages and salaries of $734.4 billion and $747.6 billion in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

With the pace of spending growth outpacing income growth in August, the savings rate edged down from 5.6 percent in July to 5.4 percent in August. Still, the longer term trend reflects upward movement in the savings rate, up from 4.1 percent in December.

In other news, the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) deflator was unchanged in August, with falling energy prices helping to reduce inflationary pressures. Nonetheless, food costs continue to move higher, up 0.3 percent in the month. On a year-over-year basis, the PCE deflator has increased 1.5 percent, down from 1.7 percent in May. Core inflation (which excludes food and energy costs) was also at a 1.5 percent pace in August. While pricing pressures have accelerated somewhat from earlier in the year, the recent easing will provide a little breathing room to the Federal Reserve as its seeks to normalize its policies.

Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers. 

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Personal Spending Data in July Show a Cautious Consumer Despite Recent Economic Progress

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending fell 0.1 percent in July, its first decline since the weather-related storms in January. This finding mirrors recent news of flat retail sales in July, showing the consumer still cautious despite recent economic progress. Purchases of durable and nondurable goods fell by 0.7 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, in July, with service-sector spending unchanged for the month. Nonetheless, personal spending has increased at an annualized 4.1 percent pace over the past six months. Hopefully, July’s figures represent a pause in what has otherwise been decent growth in consumer spending this year.

Personal income growth also eased to its slowest pace of 2014, down from 0.5 percent in June to 0.2 percent in July. Still, it was the seventh consecutive monthly increase in income growth, with personal incomes up 3.3 percent since December or 4.3 percent over the past 12 months. For manufacturers, total wages and salaries were unchanged at $787.3 billion in July, but they have risen 4.2 percent year-to-date (up from $755.3 billion in December).

The savings rate moved higher, up from 5.4 to 5.7 percent, with personal spending declining. That was the highest savings rate since December 2012. The rate has gradually moved higher so far this year, up from 4.1 percent in December.

In other news, the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) deflator eased somewhat in July, up 0.1 percent relative to 0.2 monthly percent gains from March through June. This reflects an increase in food prices (up 0.4 percent) that was mostly offset by a decline in energy prices (down 0.3 percent). The year-over-year pace was unchanged at 1.6 percent, with core inflation (which excludes food and energy costs) remaining at a 1.5 percent annual pace.

The Federal Reserve prefers the PCE deflator as its measure of inflation, and as such, it will welcome the news that pricing pressures have decelerated slightly over the summer months. At the same time, consumers will likely focus on the fact that both food (up 2.0 percent) and energy (up 2.4 percent) costs have risen modestly over the past 12 months, a pocketbook issue that they will notice when making purchases.

Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers. 

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