Entries in Consumer Spending (30)


Consumer Spending Rises 0.4% after Weak Holiday Numbers

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The milder than normal winter of 2012 seems to have invigorated Americans, sending more of them to stores to spend money.

According to the Commerce Department, sales of retail goods last month were up by 0.4 percent from the same period last year, a better than expected showing seeing as how lackluster the holiday shopping season was.

Folks were opening their wallets and pocket books to buy electronics, sporting goods and house and garden supplies.  The nicer weather meant it was easier to travel to bars and restaurants.

Another factor for increased spending: higher prices at the pump that will continue rising throughout the rest of the winter and into the spring.

January's increase isn't enough to put the economic recovery on the fast track but economists are nonetheless encouraged that consumers continue to spend more than they have in recent years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Personal Incomes Shot Up in December; Consumer Spending Fell Flat

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In what comes as promising news for American workers, personal incomes rose again in December by the highest percentage in nine months.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that incomes increased $61.3 billion, or 0.5 percent, to wrap up 2011, marking the fourth straight month of gains. The previous month, incomes jumped by a 10th of a percent.

But while Americans may have had more money in their pockets to spend on gifts, consumer spending during the holiday shopping month fell flat.  The same report shows the figure was unchanged in December after rising by 0.1 percent the previous month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Consumer Spending, Personal Incomes Edge Up Slightly

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Consumer spending edged up just a tenth of a percent last month, according to a report out Friday from the U.S. Commerce Department. Personal incomes were also up a tenth of a percent.

Although both numbers were below many analysts' expectations, Mesirow Financial chief economist Diane Swonk says these figures aren't surprising.

“It really reflects what we already saw in the November retail sales, that the hype of the Black Friday selling season was greater than reality. Consumers spent cautiously and that is in line with what we'd expect at this stage of the game,” Swonk said.

“The good news is we are generating jobs,” Swonk said. “The bad news is we're still not generating enough at a high enough wage to really lift all boats.

Swonk says this final week is going to be critical for retailers.

“The stores are brimming with a lot of people, that's good news, and online traffic has been high, but the extent to which consumers really spend with abandon has sort of been a big question mark.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Economists Predict Slow US Growth Next Year

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. economy will continue its slow growth next year and joblessness will remain high, according to a survey released Monday morning by the National Association for Business Economics.

“Economists responding to the latest NABE Outlook Survey expect moderate economic growth through 2012, with little likelihood of another recession or an outbreak of inflation,” said NABE Outlook Survey Chair Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Electronics Association.

In the survey, those who responded expect inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, known as real GDP, to grow at 2.5 percent in the final quarter of 2011 and 2.4 percent in 2012.

Unemployment, the group said, is expected to decline slightly next year from its current 9 percent level.  Business spending and housing starts, on the other hand, are expected to continue to rise.
“Corporate profits and stock prices are predicted to strengthen.  But the panel remains concerned about debt-related issues in Europe,” the NABE said.

Here are the highlights from the report:

-- The NABE Outlook panel predicts moderate real GDP growth through year-end 2012.  A 2.5 percent pace is expected during the fourth quarter of 2011, followed by a 2.4 percent growth rate in 2012, with GDP in the second half of 2012 slightly stronger than in the first half.

-- The odds of a second recession are low.  Only two of 42 forecasters predicted a decline in real GDP over the near-term.  As a group, the panelists saw a recession as the least likely scenario.  Forecast confidence has improved, but remains low.

-- The NABE Outlook panel expects employment will improve, albeit very slowly.  Monthly job gains are expected to rise steadily over the forecast horizon, from an average of 100,000 during the fourth quarter of 2011 to 130,000 by the end of next year.  The jobless rate will decline from 9 percent to 8.9 percent in 2012, but despite a majority view of modest labor market improvement, NABE economists still identified “excessive unemployment” as their single greatest concern going forward.

-- Growth in consumer spending is expected to remain below trend.  Consumer spending is forecast to increase 2.1 percent this year -- the same consumer spending forecast as reported in the September survey.  The NABE Outlook Survey panel expects consumer spending to grow 2.1 percent in 2012.

-- Housing starts are expected to increase 10 percent in 2012.  The economists participating in the survey expect housing starts to reach 600,000 units in 2011, just slightly above the 2010 total and a small upward revision from the September Outlook Survey forecast.

-- Business spending remains a bright spot in the forecast.  NABE’s Outlook panel continues to forecast solid if not spectacular growth in spending on business equipment and software in both 2011 (up 10.5 percent) and 2012 (an additional increase of 8 percent).  The forecast for real spending on nonresidential structures improved from that reported in the September survey.  Panelists now envisage spending on structures to increase 4.6 percent in 2011 and 4.5 percent next year.  Industrial production is expected to increase 4 percent in 2011 and 3.3 percent in 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Consumer Spending Rises in October; Wholesale Prices Drop

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In what could be a good precursor to the holiday shopping season, retail sales rose in October for the fifth month in a row, according to a government report released Tuesday.

The Commerce Department says last month's increase was 0.5 percent -- a fairly strong showing. The figure is the first indicator of fourth quarter growth.

Meanwhile, another report released by the Labor Department on Tuesday shows that wholesale prices dropped 0.3 percent in October, with companies paying less for gas and new cars, among other goods.  The drop in the Producer Price Index is a sign of less inflation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Consumer Spending Rises Again in August -- But Incomes Drop

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- For a second straight month, consumer spending in the U.S. rose in August, according to a new government report released Friday.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.2 percent -- or $22.7 billion -- last month, down from July's revised 0.7 percent increase.

The same report also shows that personal incomes dropped 0.1 percent, or $7.3 billion, in August.  The previous month, incomes grew slightly by 0.1 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Forty Percent of Americans Cut Spending in Past 60 Days 

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) –-  A new study done by Princeton Survey Research Associates International reveals just how Americans feel about the economy. According to’s September Financial Security Index, 40% of Americans cut their spending in the past 60 days.

The spending reductions were evident across all income groups, from 75% of the highest income households (earning $75,000) to 43% of the lowest income households (earning less than $30,000).

Also found in the survey: among those under 30 years old, 23% feel more secure in their jobs now than they did a year ago, compared to the 10% or less of individuals at least 50 years of age.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Consumer Confidence Crashes in August

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- August isn't over yet but consumers have spoken: their confidence in the economy this month is way, way down.

Tuesday's survey from the New York-based Conference Board found that the Consumer Confidence Index in August was 44.5.  That's a drop of 15 points from 59.2 the previous month.

Consumer confidence hasn't been this low since April, when the economy was still reeling from the recession and the financial crisis.  In comparison, an index number of 90 indicates the economy has stabilized.

The Conference Board blamed the long debate in Washington over raising the debt and fears of defaulting on the government's bills for the first time for the erosion of confidence.  The downgrading of the nation's credit rating by Standard & Poor's also didn't help matters.

While confidence was shrinking, ironically, the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending was up 0.8 percent in July, the best showing in five months.

In August, Americans also said they'd be buying more cars and big appliances than they did in July.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Consumer Spending in July Rises to Highest Point in Five Months

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After showing a deficit the month before, consumer spending in the U.S. rose in July to the largest increase in five months, according to a new government report released Monday.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.8 percent -- or $88.4 billion -- last month, rebounding from a 0.1 percent decline in June.

The same report also shows that personal incomes rose 0.3 percent, or $42.4 billion, in July.  The previous month, incomes grew slightly less, standing at a .2 percent gain.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fuel Prices Drop 7 Cents in Past Week

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- New data from the Energy Department shows consumers are getting a bit of the reprieve from the recent 15 percent drop in oil prices. The Energy Department says that the average price of a gallon of gasoline dropped seven cents in the past week to a national average price of $3.60.
Economists say falling gasoline prices act like tax cuts -- putting money in consumers’ wallets right away. Moody’s Analytics estimates that every 10-cent drop adds about $9 billion in consumer spending to the economy. So this week’s seven-cent drop is equal to a little more than $6 billion in new consumer spending.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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