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US Consumer Spending Slowed in August

Americans are saving more and spending less.

That’s according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department, which found that personal consumption in August was unchanged from July—the weakest reading in five months. However, when inflation is factored in, spending actually fell by 0.1%. That was the first monthly decline since January.

Despite personal income increasing $39.3 billion (0.2%) and disposable personal income rising $31.9 billion (0.2%) in August, the latest numbers revealed consumers were reluctant to splash out. At the same time, the personal saving rate rose slightly to 5.7% from July’s 5.6%.

Friday’s report jibes with earlier estimates from Gallup, which found that Americans’ daily self-reports of spending fell to $91 in August from $100 in July. That figure was in line with the $89 reported in August 2015, but down from the same month in 2014 ($94) and 2013 ($95).

In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly sales report found that retail trade sales were down 0.5% in August from July, with eight out of 13 categories showing negative growth.

Gallup’s results are based on interviews conducted with Americans throughout the month about how much they spent “yesterday,” outside of normal household spending and big-ticket items such as a car or home.

Gallup US consumer spending

It’s worth noting that August is never a standout month for spending, according to Gallup’s monthly reports, but the latest dip did come amid a spending slowdown in the manufacturing and construction industries. That being said, August’s level was still healthy compared with sub-$80 figures from 2009 to 2012.