January 31, 2012 |
Consumers had more money in their pockets in December, but instead of spending it all they tucked away some of it in their savings. Personal incomes rose $61.3 billion, or 0.5%, to $13.1 trillion in December from November, the highest month-to-month jump in nearly a year, according to the Commerce Department. The increase was fueled in part by rising wages and salaries. But personal consumption expenditures last month dipped $2 billion, or 0.1%, to nearly $10.9 trillion in an about-face from November.
January 27, 2012 |
The American economy ended a year of mostly disappointments with modestly stronger growth, but still less than what was hoped for by many analysts. The nation's gross domestic product -- the total value of goods and services produced in the U.S. -- rose 2.8% in the fourth quarter from the prior quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday. While that was an acceleration from the feeble growth rate of 1.8% in the summer, the latest GDP figure was below the 3% that most analysts were projecting.
January 17, 2012 |
Despite high unemployment and volatile global markets, retail sales are estimated to rise a modest 3.4% in the new year, a survey says. That's below the 4.7% growth that the retail industry saw in 2011, according to industry group National Retail Federation, but healthy considering the economic pressures still facing many consumers. “Over the last 18 months, retailers have been on the forefront of the economic recovery - creating jobs, encouraging consumer spending, and investing in America,” said Matthew Shay, the group's chief executive and president.
January 6, 2012 |
Americans' daily spending rose slightly to $76 in December in the highest monthly average of last year, though analysts suspect that consumers offset holiday purchases by cutting back on routine costs, according to a Gallup poll. Consumers spent more during the holiday month than they did in November, when they shelled out $71 a day, according to the survey. But it's not much of a change compared with December 2010, when daily costs ran about $75. And Gallup experts believe that last month's spending boost came at the expense of normal spending on groceries, gas, clothing and dining out. Retailers reported holiday sales that were up 3.3% compared with 2010.
December 24, 2011 |
Despite the ballyhooed record retail sales over Thanksgiving, consumer spending for all of November turned out to be rather ho-hum. Personal spending overall edged up a modest 0.1% in November for the second straight month, the Commerce Department said Friday. That, coupled with other data suggesting weaker manufacturing shipments, tempered the recently more optimistic outlook for the economy. "Consumers will not lead the recovery on a consistent basis," Moody's Analytics' economist Scott Hoyt said in a research note.
December 23, 2011 |
Just a few months ago, the economy seemed to be skidding toward another recession. Now, a continued drop in jobless claims, a rise in consumer confidence and other signs of a growing recovery are cheering economists as the year draws to a close. "The economy has clearly re-accelerated at year's end," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "It kind of stalled out midyear through the debt ceiling debacle and right up until September. "But in the last three months, it's really started to pick up and that's encouraging.
November 29, 2011 |
The strong start to the holiday shopping season and new proposals to help ease Europe's debt crisis finally injected some confidence into a recession-wary Wall Street. Investors were encouraged with reports that a record number of shoppers poured into malls and shopping centers around the country over Thanksgiving weekend, which has historically been the biggest time of the year for U.S. retailers. Sales during Black Friday are crucial for Wall Street since consumer spending accounts for 70% of the economy, and sales figures helped assuage fears building since summer that the U.S. could be close to falling back into a recession.
November 25, 2011 |
An early kickoff to the holiday shopping season appeared to pay off for retailers, who bet correctly that extended late-night hours would draw even more bargain hunters to the annual Black Friday extravaganza. The shopping frenzy, although marred by a pepper spray incident at a San Fernando Valley Wal-Mart, bodes well for increased consumer spending as the year draws to a close. It would be the latest in a series of modest improvements to an economy still trying to shake free from the lingering effects of the devastating recession of 2007-09.
November 25, 2011 |
We like to think that the holidays bring out the best in us, that they are like the feasts and festivals of our archaic past, when we celebrated a successful hunt or a bountiful harvest. So why do we treat Black Friday — when the season to be jolly officially commences with ritualized ferocity — as the occasion for serious lamentations about the "commercialization of Christmas" and the moral emptiness of the mall? You already know the answer: because consumerism is bad for us. But that's not really the case.
November 23, 2011 |
The U.S. economy grew at a slower pace than originally estimated in the third quarter, mainly because companies reduced inventories and did not invest as much. The Commerce Department cut its calculation of gross domestic product to 2% growth in the July-to-September period from an initial reading of 2.5%. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected the government to trim its estimate to 2.3%. Still, the 2% growth rate was the fastest since the fourth quarter of 2010. Most economists predict that the U.S. economy will grow even faster in the final three months of this year — 2.5% based on the latest MarketWatch forecast.