Entries in Consumer Spending (30)


Economy: The Upside to the Downturn

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Amid widespread gloom about the dismal economy, the proverbial silver lining still remains. Oil prices have declined nearly 15 percent since July, and experts expect to see savings of up to 50 cents a gallon at the gas pump in the coming weeks.

"The minute that prices at the pump go down, you start saving, you start spending, having more in your pocket to spend elsewhere in the economy," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. "You don't have to pass any legislation, and it comes right away."

Speaking of spending, new data released Friday illustrates America's resilience. Despite Washington's debt battle, consumers kept shopping in July. Spending increased to more than $390 billion, up half a percent in just one month.

"The bump in retail sales in July was a welcome relief, especially after the avalanche of bad news," said Swonk. "The consumer in the face of many headwinds was still at least keeping its head above water."

So, what are we buying?

The answer: More electronics, appliances and furniture, as well as stocking up on such basics as groceries and clothing. And it's not just retail and gas looking better -- mortgage rates are dipping to historic lows.

"By refinancing now, taking advantage of lower rates, households can reduce their monthly payments, create a little bit of breathing room, and that's money that can be pumped back into the economy by spending elsewhere," said Greg McBride, senior analyst for

Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgages are at a record low, averaging 3.5 percent this week. While 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were the lowest in nine months, averaging 4.32 percent.

As a result, refinance applications rose to their highest level of the year, up 30 percent last week. Refinancing gives some homeowners a chance to free up more cash and the low rates are also likely to spur home sales.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Consumer Spending Up in July, Survey Shows

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Despite all the worries about the U.S. economy, consumer spending held up well last month, according to a new survey.

Michael McNamara of Mastercard Advisors Spending Pulse said its survey shows retail sales in July grew more than 8.5 percent from a year ago.

"Sectors that have been performing well through July tend to be the non-discretionary sectors," McNamara said.

"Areas like gasoline, grocery, apparel also did fairly well for the early back-to-school season," he added.

Travel spending, on the other hand, fell flat last month.

"Confidence, employment numbers, high gas prices weren't necessarily promoting a very robust summer travel season," McNamara noted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Consumer Spending Unchanged in May

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock (WASHINGTON) -- In the latest sign of a weak economy, consumer spending sagged last month, according to the latest report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The agency says consumer spending was unchanged in May, the first time it had been in several months.  Furthermore, when inflation was factored in, consumer spending decreased 0.1 percent.

The report also showed that incomes rose 0.3 percent last month, matching its increase in April.  When adjusted for inflation, incomes were still in the positive, rising 0.1 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stocks Close Lower Monday Amid Continued Uncertainty for Japan, Middle East

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The market was dogged by persistent concerns about Japan and the Middle East Monday. Traders kept one eye on developments in Japan and the Arab world, the other on U.S. economic news.  

By Monday's end, Wall Street saw a selloff in light trading as uncertainty gripped the market.  The Dow finished 23 points lower at 12,198, the Nasdaq was off by 12 and the S&P closed down 3.6 points.

Before the stocks' drop late Monday, there was a slight boost, according to The Wall Street Journal, due to a reported 0.7 percent increase in last month's consumer spending.  The increase was the highest since October and exceeded economist projections.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Economists Shift Concern to Federal Deficit

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The jobs market appears to be getting better at last, and consumers are spending more.  So what's the biggest thing that now has economists worried?

"I think that the number-one issue is the deficit," Chad Moutray with the National Association for Business Economics said.  "There definitely is a concern about getting the deficit down."

Moutray added that most economists backed the stimulus but now the government must start cutting the budget deficit, and soon.

"The more we continue to borrow, the more we continue to depend on deficit spending to be able to do all the programs we are doing, the less likely we're going to be able to maintain our standard of living going forward," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Consumer Borrowing: A Sign of Renewed Consumer Confidence

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Reserve said Monday that overall consumer borrowing was up three percent in December -- a third straight monthly gain.  After two years of cutting back, that is a sign of consumer confidence in the economy.

"People really are earning more money and you're starting to see that in those consumer-spending markets," economic forecasting expert Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics told ABC News.  "At least, in the short run, that's going to be a powerful boost to the economy and something, frankly, the administration wants to see."

Thornberg also says consumers are putting more purchases on credit as consumer confidence improves.

"In as much as people are borrowing money and buying cars, you can assume they're using their credit cards as well along the way.  So, it really does look like thinks are starting to improve on the consumer-credit front," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Commerce Dept.: US Consumer Spending Continues to Improve 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Official data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that consumer spending in the United States has grown at its fastest pace since 2007.  The Commerce Department reports that spending has grown 3.5 percent since 2009.

Economists say spending and savings growth should persist in 2011, provided that the job market continues to improve.

Copyright 2011 ABC News


Americans to Spend Big on Super Bowl

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) – A new survey suggests that Americans won’t just be watching the Super Bowl, a.k.a. the big game, but spending big money on everything from food to fan apparel in preparation.

AdAge reports that consumer spending for the Super Bowl is expected to reach $10.1 billion, according to the survey from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association.

The figure would represent the largest spending for Super Bowl Sunday in the history of the survey.

"The consumer is feeling more optimistic," said Mike Gatti, executive director at RAMA. "Spending is starting to come back, and it's on these little splurgy things. It's not crazy. But people are saying we're going to crack open the wallet and do something."

Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said they would be purchasing Super Bowl-related items. The average amount that will be spent rose from $64 per person in 2010 to $71.51 this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Consumer Spending Up Slightly in November

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(PRINCETON, NJ) – Daily consumer spending was up for the month of November, although it remains the same as a year ago.

A new Gallup poll based on self-reported daily spending shows that Americans spent an average of $66 per day in November, up slightly from $63 a day in October.

According to Gallup, spending over the last half of this year has run slightly under 2009 figures and now represents what they consider a “new normal.”

Lower- and middle-income families reportedly spent $56 per day in November, while upper-income Americans spent an average of $120 per day.

Copyright 210 ABC News Radio


Record $1 Billion Spent on Cyber Monday

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(RESTON, Va.) – Cyber Monday brought in over $1 billion this week to become the largest online shopping day in U.S. history.

comScore says online spending Monday, driven by workplace shopping and an increase in spending per buyer, surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time in history.
The one-day figure represents a 16-percent increase from a year ago, with nearly half of all money spent on U.S. websites coming from work computers.

Cyber Monday is the name given to the Monday after Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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