Monday, March 28, 2016

Personal Income increased 0.2% in February, Spending increased 0.1%

by Bill McBride on 3/28/2016 08:40:00 AM

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

Personal income increased $23.7 billion, or 0.2 percent ... according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $11.0 billion, or 0.1 percent.
...
Real PCE -- PCE adjusted to remove price changes -- increased 0.2 percent in February, in contrast to a decrease of less than 0.1 percent in January. ... The price index for PCE decreased 0.1 percent in February, in contrast to an increase of 0.1 percent in January. The PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.1 percent, compared with an increase of 0.3 percent.

The February PCE price index increased 1.0 percent from February a year ago. The February PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased 1.7 percent from February a year ago.
The following graph shows real Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) through February 2016 (2009 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.

The dashed red lines are the quarterly levels for real PCE.

The increase in personal income was larger than expected.  And the increase in PCE was at the 0.1% increase consensus.

On inflation: The PCE price index increased 1.0 percent year-over-year due to the sharp decline in oil prices. The core PCE price index (excluding food and energy) increased 1.7 percent year-over-year in February.

Using the two-month method to estimate Q1 PCE growth, PCE was increasing at a 1.8% annual rate in Q1 2016 (using the mid-month method, PCE was increasing 1.6%). This suggests sluggish PCE growth in Q1.