Friday, August 28, 2009

US consumer spending up 0.2%

Source: Straits Times Aug 28, 2009
US consumer spending up 0.2%

WASHINGTON - US CONSUMER spending rose for the third consecutive month in July while incomes were virtually flat, government data showed on Friday in a report suggesting demand picking up amid the long recession.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending - which drives two-thirds of US economic activity - rose 0.2 per cent in July, in line with the average analyst forecast.

Personal income was up less than 0.10 per cent and disposable personal income - income less personal taxes - slipped less than 0.1 per cent.

The department said spending rose a revised 0.6 per cent in June, a hefty 0.2 percentage point higher than the initial estimate.

The June surge in consumer spending had been captured in the Commerce Department's report Thursday on second-quarter economic growth, which showed spending fell at an annualized rate of 1.0 per cent, a decline less steep than first estimated.

In that report, the department left unchanged its initial estimate that gross domestic product, which measures output, shrank 1.0 per cent at an annual pace in the April-June period, better than analysts forecasts of a 1.5 per cent decline.

Friday's consumer spending and income data showed that consumer prices held steady in July from June.

As a result, real consumer spending - excluding price variations - rose 0.2 per cent in July.

Real disposable income fell 0.1 per cent in July, following a 1.6 per cent decline in June.

Americans struggling with the worst recession since the Great Depression continued to save in July but at a slower pace, with the savings rate as a percentage of disposable income falling to 4.2 per cent.

The savings rate had hit its highest level since 1995 in May as households hunkered down as unemployment surged in the sharp recession that began in December 2007. -- AFP

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