December 2019 real personal income and spending

December 2019 real personal income and spending

Real personal income and spending are both coincident indicators. They don’t tell us where the economy is going, but they do give us a snapshot of how ordinary Americans are doing.

In December, real income declined by less than -0.1%. Real spending rose by less than +0.1%:

Figure 1

Real personal spending excluding government transfer payments is one of the four indicators used by the NBER to determine if the economy is in recession or not. In December this was flat. Overall in 2019 there was a slow uptrend:

This is one indication that as of one month ago the economy was not in a recession.

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