Consumer Spending Flat in August

The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending in August increased just $3.9 billion, or less than 0.1 percent, the worst performance in six months. In July, consumer spending increased $14.2 billion, or 0.1 percent.

Personal income increased $61.5 billion, or 0.5 percent in August, but disposable personal income (i.e., after-tax income) decreased $93.3 billion, or 0.9 per-cent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In July, personal income decreased $69 billion, or 0.6 percent, and disposable personal income decreased $91 billion, or 0.8 percent.

The Commerce Department noted that the changes in income primarily reflect the winding down of the federal government’s stimulus payments. Those payments totaled $92 billion, but only $1 billion in stimulus checks went out in August. In the peak month of May, the government mailed checks worth $48.1 billion.