U.S. Consumer Spending at Highest Point Since December 2008 — Gallup


U.S. consumers spend more money in August than in July. August spending reached a level not seen since December 2008. In a self-reporting poll from Gallup, consumers' average daily spending in August totaled $77, up from $73 in July and up from $68 in August 2011.

Average spending among households with less than $90,000 in income rose to $63 in August from $59 in July. Among higher income households, spending was flat at $135. Gallup notes that the August results are atypical in that it is spending by upper income households that usually drives overall spending increases.

Gallup also notes:

The higher spending in 2012 to date is still coming more from higher-income Americans than from middle-class and lower-income households. Lower- and middle-income Americans did increase their spending slightly in August, but not enough to bring their average for the year above the levels seen in 2011. Further job market improvement could encourage this group to start spending more, but it will take a lot to get them to spend anywhere near what they did in early 2008, before the financial crisis.

Average spending so far this year totals $59 a month among lower- and middle-income households compared with an average of $58 a month in 2011. Spending by upper-income households totals $127 a month so far in 2012, compared with $121 a month in 2011.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy, Research