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Consumer Spending

BUSINESS
June 26, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy struggled even more than originally thought in the first three months of the year, growing at an anemic 1.8% annual rate, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The growth rate has been revised down twice after the initial reading of 2.5% growth in the first quarter. Growth is widely expected to pick up in the second quarter as consumers and businesses adjust to tax hikes and federal spending cuts this year. QUIZ: How much do you know about the federal budget cuts?
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BUSINESS
June 5, 2013 | By Alejandro Lazo
In the latest sign that the worst of the recession is receding, the American Bankruptcy Institute reported Wednesday that total filings were down 12% last month from the same period last year. Total U.S. bankruptcy filings were down to 96,430 last month, the institute said. Consumer bankruptcy filings were down 11% to 92,413. Business filings fell 25%, to 4,017. “Sustained low interest rates, tighter lending standards and decreased consumer spending are assisting consumers and companies to shore up their balance sheets,” Samuel J. Gerdano, director of the institute said in a release.
BUSINESS
May 31, 2013 | By Don Lee
WASHINGTON -- U.S. consumer confidence has recovered to pre-recession levels, but it's unlikely to stay up for very long.  The University of Michigan said Friday that its index of consumer sentiment jumped to 84.5 at the end of May, from 76.4 in April. That's the highest reading since July 2007, just a few months before the Great Recession began, and in line with surveys by the Conference Board and others showing a similar rise. The Michigan survey found upper-income households leading the way, as this group has benefited more from a rising stock market and higher home prices.
BUSINESS
May 31, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Americans cut back on their purchases in April for the first time in nearly a year as their income remained flat, a potentially bad sign for an economy that depends heavily on consumer spending. Consumer spending dropped 0.2% last month, and March's initially reported increase was cut in half to a revised 0.1%, the Commerce Department said Friday. Personal income failed to grow for the first time since falling 4.4% in January. Analysts had expected consumer spending to be unchanged last month and that personal income would rise 0.1%.
BUSINESS
May 20, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumers will help keep economic growth on track this year, as new projections of their spending indicate it will offset the hit to the recovery from the federal government's automatic budget cuts, a panel of economists said Monday. The National Assn. for Business Economics estimated that the nation's economic output would grow 2.4% this year, the same as the group projected in February. That's up from 1.7% growth in 2012. And the organization said growth should pick up to 3% in 2014.
BUSINESS
April 29, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumers spent more in March even as their income rose less than analysts had projected, a mixed economic message to start a week that will end with the latest government unemployment report. Consumer spending was up 0.2% last month, down from February's 0.7% rise, the Commerce Department said Monday. But spending still was up, an unexpected improvement. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was that spending would be flat. The March increase in spending came despite personal income's rising just 0.2%., less than the 0.4% estimated by economists.
BUSINESS
April 19, 2013 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
California's economic recovery continued to outpace the nation's in March as its unemployment rate fell to 9.4%, the lowest in more than four years for the Golden State. The state increased its payrolls by 25,500 jobs and pushed down the jobless rate from 9.6% in February, according to data released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. But the economic picture was not all rosy. Although jobs were added because of a rising housing market and continued consumer spending, 14,900 people dropped out of the workforce, mirroring a national trend of job seekers who become discouraged and give up looking for work.
BUSINESS
April 8, 2013 | By Alana Semuels
The workplace is changing as many companies, looking to increase productivity, ask employees for more while giving them less, according to a Los Angeles Times series. That's difficult for individuals at work - but it might also have a profound impact on the economy in the long-term. If workers feel that they have little job security and could be replaced at any time, they're unlikely to spend a lot of money on the big ticket items that fuel consumer spending and, thus, the GDP. With professional development opportunities disappearing, promotions are harder to come by, restricting access to the middle class.
BUSINESS
March 29, 2013 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
California's economic growth revved up in February as employers added 41,200 jobs, one of the highest monthly gains since the Great Recession ended nearly four years ago. The payroll gains helped push the unemployment rate down to 9.6% from 9.8% in January, according to data released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. The growth in net new jobs, buoyed by increased consumer spending, was another positive sign for a state that has steadily gained jobs over the last year, hitting a monthly high of 74,000 in January 2012.
BUSINESS
March 29, 2013 | By Don Lee
WASHINGTON -- American consumers are showing remarkable resilience. Despite the weight of higher payroll taxes and pump prices, consumer spending rose a surprisingly strong 0.3% in February from the prior month, after adjusting for inflation, the Commerce Department said Friday. That prompted a number of economists to boost their forecast sharply for personal spending and economic growth for the first quarter. Moreover, a major indicator of consumer confidence edged up in March to its highest level since November, confounding analysts' projections that the University of Michigan survey would slip as consumers also took in the news of the new government spending cuts under sequestration.
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