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The trend in US household finances suggests no change in the course of the recovery [ClearOnMoney]
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The trend in US household finances suggests no change in the course of the recovery

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Commentary

The trend in US household finances suggests no change in the course of the recovery

13 Feb 2013 by Jim Fickett.

As with many indicators, there is a great deal of noise month to month in household income and spending, but it is worth looking at the trend every few months as one fundamental measure of the health of the economy.

In November and December (the latest data available), income spiked, due to changes in the tax law. The BEA reported (not a permalink),

Personal income in November and December was boosted by accelerated and special dividend payments to persons and by accelerated bonus payments and other irregular pay in private wages and salaries in anticipation of changes in individual income tax rates. Personal income in December was also boosted by lump-sum social security benefit payments.

Leaving aside this one-off spike, household income does not show any clear change in trend:

Similarly, spending has been growing at a fairly constant rate for the last two years:

Household finances, then, suggest that the recovery is proceeding for now without major changes.