Commerce Department Data Shows August Rise In Consumer Spending

Date: September 16, 2015

Spending Up Across Most Categories; Gasoline Spending Down On Lower Fuel Prices

The latest Commerce Department data on consumer spending indicates an upswing in spending for August, with overall spending up 0.2%. Reuters notes that the data show core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline, food services, and building materials, rose 0.4% for the month. This was a slight slowdown from a 0.6% increase in July. Auto sales rose 0.7% for August, down from 1.3% in July. These increases, along with increases for clothing store, online retail, restaurant, sporting goods, and hobby shop purchases, were somewhat offset by a 1.8% decline in sales values at gas stations due to continued falling gasoline prices. The Wall Street Journal notes that since August 2014 overall US consumer spending is up 2.2%, in part because consumers are benefiting from cheaper imports due to the stronger dollar and lower gasoline prices. Over the past six months, retail sales have been on the rise, data indicate. Barclays US economist Jesse Hurwitz characterized US consumers as “buoyant,” suggesting consumer demand will help keep the US economy strong.

What This Means For Small Businesses

The latest consumer spending news is positive for small businesses. As Bloomberg News reports, the numbers show that “the consumer is hanging in there, at least for now,” and the data “help allay concern that volatile stock markets and sluggish global economies would prompt households to hit the brakes on spending.” This means businesses across the US should continue to see customers interested in purchasing their goods and services.

Additional Reading

NFIB previously noted results of a consumer confidence survey this month, which showed August consumer confidence was strong.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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