Friday, August 29, 2008

Anemic consumer spending

In spite of the tax rebates that went out in May through mid-July, consumer spending has been pretty weak. Real consumption (PCE) rose 0.3 percent in May, but then fell 0.1 and 0.4 percent in June and July.

Part of the reason real consumption (quantities) is so sluggish is because prices have been racing ahead. The PCE deflator rose 0.4, 0.7, and 0.6 percent in May, June, and July, mostly because of food and energy prices.