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Consumer Spending Rebounds As Jobless Claims Decrease

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WASHINGTON (7/1/13)--After the largest decline in more than three years, U.S. consumer spending bounced back in May, while initial claims for unemployment benefits fell for the week ended June 22.

Purchases by households, which constitutes roughly 70% of the U.S. economy, increased 0.3% in May after a 0.3% decline in April--the largest since September 2009, the Commerce Department said Thursday (Bloomberg.com, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times June 27).

An improving job market and escalating home prices, combined with quicker income gains, could help bolster consumer spending in the second half of 2013, Bloomberg said.

Meanwhile, initial claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 8,000--to 346,000--for the week ended June 22 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday (The New York Times and Moody's Economy.com June 27).

The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out volatility, fell 2,750--to 345,750. Continuing claims for unemployment benefits for the week ended June 8 dipped 1,000--to 2.97 million.

The lack of a pullback in consumer spending has likely kept businesses confident enough to keep hiring steadily--albeit slowly--entering the middle of this year, Moody's said.