Economic News Blog
Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 1. March 2013

Real Consumer Spending Up 2.0% for Third Month

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, real consumer spending in January 2013 was $9,710 billion real dollars (seasonally adjusted at an annual rate). As is the case almost every month, real consumer spending hit a new all-time high in December. Spending in January 2013 was 2.0% more than it was in January 2012. Consumer spending has grown more than 2.0% for three months in a row, which hasn't happened since July 2011. However, the current rate of month-over-month growth is only about 2/3 the historical average. Since March 2012, the annual rate of change has been between 1.8% and 2.0%. Faster growth in real personal income is signaling faster growth in real consumer spending in the first half of 2013, which can be seen in the charts below. An acceleration in the annual growth rate of real consumer spending would indicate an acceleration in the annual growth rate of industrial production in the first half of 2013 as spending leads production by zero to six months.

Real consumer spending (or its sub-components such as medical care spending) is an important leading for a number of durable goods end markets: construction materials; custom processors; food and beverage processing; forming and fabricating (non-auto); hardware; HVAC; industrial motors, hydraulics and mechanical components; machinery and equipment manufacturing; medical; metalcutting job shops; oil, gas field and mining machinery; power generation; primary metals; and printing

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