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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Personal Income decreased 2.7% in August, Spending increased 1.0%

by Calculated Risk on 10/01/2020 08:56:00 AM

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

Personal income decreased $543.5 billion (2.7 percent) in August according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $570.9 billion (3.2 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $141.1 billion (1.0 percent).

Real DPI decreased 3.5 percent in August and Real PCE increased 0.7 percent. The PCE price index increased 0.3 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.3 percent.
The decrease in personal income was below expectations,  and the increase in PCE was above expectations.  

The August PCE price index increased 1.4 percent year-over-year and the August PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased 1.6 percent year-over-year.

The following graph shows real Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) since January 2019 through August 2020 (2012 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.

Note the low level in April (when the economy was partially shutdown).  PCE has bounced back, but is still well below the February level.

The usual methods of estimating PCE (two month and mid-month) are not useful this quarter due to the huge distortion in April.   It looks like PCE will increase at a 35% to 40% in Q3 annualized.