2012 Economic Calendar
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Personal Income and Outlays  
Released On 3/30/2012 8:30:00 AM For Feb, 2012
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Personal Income - M/M change0.3 %0.2 %0.4 %0.2 % to 0.6 %0.2 %
Consumer Spending - M/M change0.2 %0.4 %0.6 %0.2 % to 0.8 %0.8 %
PCE Price Index -- M/M change0.2 %0.3 %0.1 % to 0.5 %0.3 %
Core PCE price index - M/M change0.2 %0.2 %0.1 %0.1 % to 0.2 %0.1 %
Personal Income - Yr/Yr change3.6 %3.5 %3.2 %
Consumer Spending - Yr/Yr change3.8 %4.1 %4.1 %
PCE Price Index -- Y/Y change2.4 %2.3 %
Core PCE price index - Yr/Yr change1.9 %1.9 %1.9 %
Personal Outlays - $ level11.226 thous billion $

Personal income growth was up but below expectations. But consumers were opening their wallets with spending up sharply. Personal income in February advanced 0.2 percent after a 0.2 percent gain the month before. The February number posted lower than analysts' forecast for a 0.4 percent surge. The important wages & salaries component was a little stronger, advancing 0.3 percent, following a 0.4 percent gain in January. Overall income growth was held back by flat interest income and flat wages in the government sector.

Consumer spending in February accelerated to a 0.8 percent increase, compared to 0.4 percent in January (previously up 0.2 percent). The market median projection was for a 0.6 percent increase. For the latest month, durables jumped 1.6 percent, nondurables increased 0.9 percent, and services gained 0.6 percent.

Inflation was mixed. The headline PCE price index got hotter, rising to 0.3 percent from 0.2 percent in January, reflecting stronger energy costs. The market median forecast was for a 0.4 percent rise in January. The core rate eased to 0.1 percent from 0.2 percent the prior month. The consensus was for a 0.1 percent rise.

Year-on-year, headline prices were up 2.3 percent, compared to 2.4 percent in January. The core was up 1.9 percent, the same as in January.

The consumer sector is moving forward despite confidence numbers that suggest otherwise. Importantly, the consumer is actually confident enough about the economy (those with jobs) to spend more. This is a good development but the overall picture is still moderate growth.

Consensus Outlook
Personal income in January increased 0.3 percent after a 0.5 percent boost the month before. However, the important wages & salaries component was a little stronger, advancing 0.4 percent, matching December's growth rate. Consumer spending in February improved to a 0.2 percent gain from no change in December. The headline PCE price index heated up somewhat to 0.2 percent from 0.1 percent in December. The core rate firmed to 0.2 percent, also from 0.1 percent in December.

Looking ahead for February, the private wages & salaries component in personal income is likely to post a healthy gain in February as aggregate private earnings rose 0.4 percent. A 6.5 percent jump in unit new motor vehicle sales suggests a strong durables component in PCEs with higher gasoline prices boosting nondurables. PCE inflation is likely to be mixed as the headline CPI jumped 0.4 percent but the core rose only 0.1 percent.

Personal income represents the income that households receive from all sources including wages and salaries, fringe benefits such as employer contributions to private pension plans, proprietors' income, income from rent, dividends and interest and transfer payments such as Social Security and unemployment compensation. Personal contributions for social insurance are subtracted from personal income.

Personal consumption expenditures are the major portion of personal outlays, which also include personal interest payments and transfer payments. Personal consumption expenditures are divided into durable goods, nondurable goods and services. These figures are the monthly analogues to the quarterly consumption expenditures in the GDP report, available in nominal and real (inflation-adjusted) dollars. Economic performance is more appropriately measured after the effects of inflation are removed.

Each month, the Bureau of Economic Analysis also compiles the personal consumption expenditure price index, also known as the PCE price index. This inflation index measures a basket of goods and services that is updated annually in contrast to the CPI, which measures a fixed basket.

 Why Investors Care
Changes in taxes or social security cost of living adjustments can cause some sharp variations in monthly disposable income growth. However, on the whole, monthly changes in disposable income fluctuate less than monthly changes in personal consumption expenditures.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
Monthly changes in personal consumption expenditures are usually skewed by large changes in spending on durable goods. Spending on nondurable goods and services tend to be less volatile from one month to the next.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/303/13/304/306/16/297/318/309/2810/2911/3012/21
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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