Friday, May 31, 2013

Personal Income declined slightly in April, Spending declined 0.2%

by Bill McBride on 5/31/2013 08:46:00 AM

The BEA released the Personal Income and Outlays report for April:

Personal income decreased $5.6 billion, or less than 0.1 percent ... in April, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $20.5 billion, or 0.2 percent. In March, personal income increased $36.2 billion, or 0.3 percent ... and PCE increased $14.2 billion, or 0.1 percent, based on revised estimates.
...
Real PCE -- PCE adjusted to remove price changes -- increased 0.1 percent in April, compared with an increase of 0.2 percent in March. ... The price index for PCE decreased 0.3 percent in April, compared with a decrease of 0.1 percent in March. The PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased less than 0.1 percent, compared with an increase of 0.1 percent.
...
Personal saving -- DPI less personal outlays -- was $306.9 billion in April, compared with $301.4 billion in March. The personal saving rate -- personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income -- was 2.5 percent in April, the same as in March.
The following graph shows real Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) through April (2005 dollars). Note that the y-axis doesn't start at zero to better show the change.

Personal Consumption Expenditures Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows real PCE by month for the last few years. The dashed red lines are the quarterly levels for real PCE.  

Some of the decline in spending is probably related to lower gasoline prices in April - and that is actually a positive (gasoline prices rebounded in May though).    Also PCE was revised up for January (slightly), February and March.

A key point is that the PCE price index was only up 0.7% year-over-year (1.1% for core PCE).   Core PCE increased at a 0.1% annualized rate in April keeping the pressure off the Fed to taper asset purchases.