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Thursday, June 25, 2015 9:01 AM

Consumers Come to Life in May

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Consumer Spending, Income Surge in May

Consumers came to life in May, as expected by the Bloomberg Econoday Consensus Estimate.

Autos, Gasoline Lead the Way

Reports on personal income, consumer spending, PCE, and core PCE come out today. Economists got all of them correct, actually being a bit pessimistic on spending. Once again though, autos lead the way.

The consumer came to life in May, boosted by a 0.5 percent rise in personal income and helping to support a 0.9 percent surge in personal outlays that reflects heavy spending on autos and retail goods. And gains are not inflationary, at least yet, based on the very closely watched core PCE price index which edged only 0.1 tenth higher in May and is at a very benign 1.2 percent year-on-year rate which is actually down a tenth from an upward revised April.

Components on the income side are very solid with wages & salaries up 0.5 percent in the month. Both proprietors' income and rental income show especially strong gains. Spending components show special strength for durables, again tied especially to autos, and also strong gains for non-durables, here tied to higher pump prices. Spending on services once again shows an incremental gain.

Turning back to PCE prices, the overall price index looks a little hot in May at plus 0.3 percent but the year-on-year rate is unchanged at only 0.1 percent. That's right, that's the year-on-year rate at only the most incremental level of inflation. And the 1.2 percent year-on-year core appears to be moving in reverse, down 1 tenth in each of the last two reports and further away from the Fed's 2 percent target.

Consumers, in an expression of their confidence, dipped into their savings to spend, with the savings rate down 3 tenths to 5.1 percent. This is a good report for the bulls, showing a strong non-inflationary bounce for the second quarter. This report won't be keeping the doves up at night and does not move forward the Fed's coming rate hike.
For those who wish to view the actual report, here is a link to the BEA news release on Personal Income and Outlays for May 2015.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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