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Consumer Spending on Clothing and Footwear Jumped 8 Percent in September

Consumer spending on clothing and footwear increased 8 percent in September over the previous month, following declines in August and July.

Shoppers spent a seasonally adjusted $422.63 million on the categories compared to $391.36 million in August. Year-over-year spending was up 3 percent compared to the $410.18 million spent in September 2019, according to estimates released Friday by the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

The overall personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 1.4 percent, or $201.4 billion, BEA reported. Real PCE, adjusted for inflation, increased 1.2 percent, or $159.2 billion. The PCE price index rose 0.2 percent.

Personal income increased 0.9 percent, or $170.3 billion, in September, while disposable personal income (DPI), a key barometer for retail spending, also increased 0.9 percent, or $150.3 billion. Real DPI increased 0.7 percent in September.

The increase in real PCE in September reflected a gain of $109.9 billion in spending for goods and a $61 billion increase in spending for services. Within goods, clothing and footwear, as well as new motor vehicles and parts were the leading contributors to the increase. Within services, the largest contributors to the increase were spending for health care such as outpatient services, as well as recreation services, followed by membership clubs, sports centers, parks, theaters, and museums.

BEA said the September estimate for personal income and outlays was impacted by the response to the spread of Covid-19. Federal economic recovery payments slowed, as pandemic-related assistance programs continued to wind down.

The increase in personal income in September reflected increases in proprietors’ income, compensation of employees and rental income that were partly offset by a decrease in government social benefits, according to BEA. Within compensation, government wage and salary disbursements decreased $7.4 billion in September, following an increase of $23.9 billion in August. Temporary and intermittent Census decennial workers boosted government wages and salaries by $9.3 billion in September after adding $10.8 billion in August. Within government social benefits, unemployment insurance benefits decreased while “other” social benefits increased. Within unemployment insurance, the leading contributor was a decrease in Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provided weekly supplemental payments of $600 that expired on July 31. Within “other” social benefits, there was an increase in Lost Wages Supplemental Payments, a Federal Emergency Management Administration program that provides wage assistance to individuals impacted by the pandemic.

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Personal outlays increased $217.5 billion in September. Personal saving was $2.51 trillion in September and the personal saving rate–personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income–was 14.3 percent.