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Macro Pulse highlights recent activity and events expected to affect the U.S. economy over the next 24 months. While the review is of the entire U.S. economy its particular focus is on developments affecting the Forest Products industry. Everyone with a stake in any level of the sector can benefit from
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

January 2011 Personal Income and Outlays, Retail Sales and Consumer Debt

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Bureau of Economic Analysis data showed that personal income increased $133.2 billion (1.0 percent), and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $78.3 billion (0.7 percent) in January. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $23.7 billion (0.2 percent). Real (inflation adjusted) disposable income increased 0.4 percent in January while real PCE decreased 0.1 percent. On average, then, Americans did not spend all of their marginal increase in income.

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Retail sales rose by 0.3 percent during January, the seventh straight month of increases. Motor vehicles and “other” sales tied for the largest percentage gain (0.5 percent), while food service sales fell (-0.7 percent) for a second month.

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Total consumer debt outstanding increased for a fourth month in January, at an annual rate of 2.5 percent. All of the credit expansion occurred in the “non-revolving” category, however, since revolving credit (i.e., credit cards) shrank at an annualized rate of 6.4 percent, while non-revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 6.9 percent. As we have seen before, the federal government -- not consumers – was the source of the increase in non-revolving debt (+$24.9 billion, not seasonally adjusted).

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