U.S. Consumers Outspent Incomes In March

Consumer spending in the U.S. grew faster in March than did personal income.

Personal spending increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $8.595 trillion in March, six-tenths of a percent higher than February's $8.543 trillion rate, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on April 29. Meanwhile, personal income was advancing five-tenths of a percentage point to an annual rate of $10.058 trillion in March from a $10.01 trillion rate in February.

Both consumer spending and personal income increases were a bit higher than economists generally had predicted. They had anticipated a five-tenths rise in spending and a four-tenths increase in income.

Separately, The U.S. Labor Department reported on April 29 that total compensation costs for civilian workers rose seven-tenths of a percent during the first quarter of this year, a tenth of a percentage point below the eight-tenths increase recorded during the final quarter of 2004. Within the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy, total compensation rose four-tenths of a percentage point from January through March of this year, less than half the 1% increase for the final quarter of 2004. Wages and salaries increased eight-tenths of a percentage point during the first quarter, but benefit costs rose half that much -- only four-tenths percent.

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