March 29, 2013

Consumers Sentimental but not Confident?

March 29, 2013

Consumers Sentimental but not Confident?

Personal Income and Outlays (February 2013)

– Personal Income – Month/Month +1.1%. Previous was -3.7%

– Consumer Spending – Month/Month +0.7%. Previous was +0.4%.

– PCE Price Index (overall) – Month/Month +0.4%

– Core PCE price index – Month/Month +0.1%

– Personal Income – Year/Year +2.6%

– Consumer Spending – Year/Year +3.3%

– Core PCE price index – Year/Year +1.3%.

This data is difficult to interpret.  The gain in Personal Income did not offset the loss of more than 3 times the size in January. But January was down in part because income was posted in December to avoid the tax hikes. A good part of the increase in spending was due to higher gas prices.

Consumer Sentiment  (March 2013)

– Sentiment is 78.9 up from 71.8.  This index is supposed to measure the predisposition of the consumer to spend.  The jump in the index may be due to recently lower gas prices or rising equity values.

I have no idea what Consumer Sentiment is up sharply when 3 data ago Consumer Confidence was down from 69.6 to 59.7.  Both of these cannot be correct.  Consumer Sentiment is from the University of Michigan.  Consumer Confidence is from the Conference Board.

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