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Consumers Increased Clothing, Footwear, Home Goods Spending in October

Rising for the fourth straight month, consumer spending on clothing and footwear increased a seasonally adjusted 0.97 percent to $521.19 billion in October, while spending on furnishings and durable household equipment rose for the second consecutive month, with a 1.4 percent uptick to $508.81 billion, according to estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

Overall personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 1.3 percent, October reflected an increase of $123.8 billion in spending for goods and an increase of $90.5 billion in spending for services. Real PCE, adjusted for inflation, increased 0.7 percent, or $123.8 billion, with goods up 1 percent and services rising 0.5 percent.

The National Retail Federation and U.S. Census Bureau reported earlier this month that clothing and accessory store sales were down 0.7 percent in October from September, but rose an unadjusted 22.7 percent year-over-year. Furniture and home furnishings store sales were up 0.4 percent month-over-month and 9.6 percent year-over-year.

“Even though consumers may have begun shopping early to avoid inventory shortages, November and December are still when they do most of their holiday shopping, so much remains ahead of us,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said earlier this month about the retail sales report. “Concerns about high prices are weighing on consumer sentiment, but that has not held back spending.”

The PCE price index increased 0.6 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index rose 0.4 percent.

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The PCE price index for October increased 5.0 percent from one year ago, reflecting increases in both goods and services. Energy prices increased 30.2 percent while food prices increased 4.8 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index for October increased 4.1 percent from one year ago.

Personal income increased 0.5 percent, or $93.4 billion, in October. Disposable personal income (DPI), a key barometer of retail spending, increased 0.3 percent, or $63.

BEA said the estimate for October personal income and outlays reflected the continued economic impacts related to the Covid-19 pandemic. In October, payments for pandemic-related unemployment benefits decreased.

Within compensation, the increase primarily reflected an increase in private wages and salaries. Within personal income receipts on assets, both dividend income and interest income increased.

Personal outlays increased $216.8 billion in October. Personal saving was $1.32 trillion in October and the personal saving rate–personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income–was 7.3 percent.