WASHINGTON (12/16/13)--The strong seasonal spending seen so far this year could continue into early 2014, Credit Union National Association Chief Economist Bill Hampel said in a recent appearance on Bloomberg Television's Bottom Line with Mark Crumpton
| CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel, right, appears on Bloomberg Television's Bottom Line with Mark Crumpton.|
Retail sales rose by 0.7% in November, and these numbers indicate that holiday spending could increase by 3.5% to 4%, despite the shortened season and early concerns that there would not be a strong season, Hampel said.
This increase is in line with what was reported in the 14th annual holiday spending survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and CUNA. That survey was released just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
"This is going to be, I think, the strongest [holiday spending season] we've had since 2007...We're back to normal just about," Hampel told Crumpton.
However, Hampel noted, there has been a change in the mix of spending this year, with fewer shoppers going to brick and mortar stores and more doing their holiday shopping online. "We're in the middle of a long-term change of how business is done...brick and mortar stores are going to make some adjustments," Hampel noted.
He said consumer loan demand at the nation's credit unions is the strongest it has been since 2005. This demand, he said, has been largely fueled by new car purchases.
Unemployment could reach pre-recession levels by May of next year, and while wages for lower income Americans have been flat for some time, they too could turn upward next year, he added.
For the full interview, use the resource link.