Entries in Personal Incomes (3)


Consumer Spending Fell 0.2% in October, Incomes Fell Flat

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The economy took a hit last month as Superstorm Sandy pummeled through the East Coast, closing down major markets for days.

The Commerce Department reported on Friday that consumer spending declined $20.2 billion, or 0.2 percent, in October -- the weakest showing since May.  Personal income, meanwhile, fell flat, increasing by less than 0.1 percent.

Economist Diane Swonk told ABC News Radio that the latest figures were no surprise.

"We saw a hit in both salaries and wages as people could not get to work at the end of the month in a very important part of the country.  We also saw a hit in consumer spending that was even larger.  The biggest drop was in motor vehicle sales," she said.

She said the blow could be attributed to where the storm hit.

"Not only was Superstorm Sandy, did it have major effects, major damages, but it also hit a very critical part of the U.S. economy, very populated area, that accounts for a lot of spending and economic activity," Swonk said.

"Just New Jersey and New York alone can account for anywhere from 10 to 12 percent of retail sales in a given month.  The island of Manhattan accounts for about 20 percent of all luxury retail spending in the country," she added.

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

ABC News Radio