The U.S. government has, within the past hour, issued two key reports on the health of the U.S. economy as we proceed through the early stages of the second half.
In one report, it was affirmed that personal income had stepped up somewhat in June, rising by a solid 0.5%; expectations had been for a gain of just 0.4%. At the same time, income in May, heretofore reported as a gain of a mere 0.2%, was upwardly revised to show an increase of 0.3% for the month. That followed gains of 0.6%, 0.5%, and 0.2% for February, March, and April, respectively.
At the same time, the companion report on personal consumption expenditures was much less upbeat, with that metric showing no change in June, following consecutive gains of 0.8%, 0.3%, and 0.2%, respectively in February, March, and April. Personal spending then declined by 0.1% in May. The listless second-quarter performance on the spending front was in keeping with the overall paucity of strength on the consumer side during the most recent period. Within the next half hour, or so, we will get additional consumer data, when the U.S. Conference Board issues its monthly survey on consumer confidence. Consensus expectations are that this report will show a slight further diminution in sentiment by the public.
As to income, the most recent data showed that private wage and salary disbursements increased by $31.9 billion in June. That was more than three times the $9.7 billion rise tallied during May. Gains here were seen in both manufacturing and the services-oriented industries.
However, as noted, there was no such good news on the spending front, as spending did little in any category. It was yet one more indication that consumers are reticent to make big spending statements when they are worried about their jobs, if they are lucky enough to have one, and the price of their homes, which have been sinking until very recently and which remain well below the levels of a half decade, or so, ago. At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.