This morning’s release of personal income and spending for November adds to the evidence that the economic recovery from the onset of the pandemic has stalled, and potentially reversed.
Real personal income declined -1.3% in November, the first decline since April. Real personal spending also declined -0.4%. Real personal spending is now down -2.7% from its February peak, while income remains higher by 2.0% (an important reason why the economy has not suffered more):
When we factor in “government transfer receipts,” i.e., things like unemployment and supplemental pandemic benefits, income also declined for the first time since April, and is down -1.5% compared with its February peak:
Between the cold weather curtailing outdoor activities, renewed lockdown-type restrictions, and increased caution by many due to the most recent surge in the pandemic, income becomes the latest metric, after restaurant reservations and jobless claims, to show a reversal. I expect more to come until winter ends and/or the pandemic begins to abate.