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November Spending on Home Furnishings Slid 0.4%

Consumer spending on clothing and footwear fell in November, ending a three-month streak of monthly increases, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported in its Personal Consumption & Outlays report.

Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) on clothing and footwear declined 2.3 percent last month compared to October to $516.52 billion. PCE for household furnishings, equipment and routine maintenance dipped 0.4 percent to $760.3 billion after rising in October.

The PCE numbers were a bit off from the Census Bureau’s retail sales report for November, which saw clothing and accessories store sales up 0.5 percent from a month earlier to $26.49 billion. In that report, furniture and home furnishings store sales were flat at $12.45 billion.

Overall PCE increased 0.6 percent, or $104.7 billion for the month, reflecting an increase of $97.4 billion in spending for services and a $7.4 billion increase in spending for goods. The increase in services was widespread, led by housing and utilities. Within goods, an increase in nondurable goods–mainly gasoline and other energy goods–was partly offset by a decrease in durable goods led by recreational goods and vehicles.

Real PCE, adjusted for inflation, rose less than 0.1 percent, with spending on services increasing 0.5 percent and spending on goods dipping 0.8 percent.

The PCE price index increased 0.6 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index rose 0.5 percent. The PCE price index for November increased 5.7 percent from a year earlier, with hikes in goods and services. Energy prices were up 34 percent, while food prices gained 5.6 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index for November climbed 4.7 percent from one year ago.

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Personal income in November increased 0.4 percent, or $90.4 billion, according BEA. Disposable personal income (DPI), a key gauge of retail spending, rose 0.4 percent, or $70.4 billion. Real DPI decreased 0.2 percent in November. The increase in personal income in November was mainly attributable to increases in compensation of employees and government social benefits, BEA noted.

Personal outlays increased $106.3 billion in November. Personal saving was $1.25 trillion in November and the personal saving rate–personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income–was 6.9 percent.

BEA said the estimate for November personal income and outlays reflected the continued economic recovery and government response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Government social benefits increased in November, reflecting an increase in the Provider Relief Fund extended by the American Rescue Plan that was partly offset by declines in many other pandemic-assistance programs.