Where Americans Are Spending More..

Since the recession started in the fourth quarter of 2007, the common theme has been about Americans cutting back on their spending. But the latest numbers from the BEA show aggregate personal consumption expenditures are up 2.9%, or $285 billion.  So we must be spending more on something!

So here is a table of winners: Some goods and services which have shown an increase in spending since 2007IV.

Right there up at the top is America’s love affair with mobile devices, where spending has soared almost 17% since the recession started.  Also supporting my thesis of a communications boom–spending on wired, wireless, and cable services have risen by 5%.

In addition, Americans still care about their pets, their children, their hair, and their guns.

Of course, the data also shows a big gain in spending on education, healthcare, and housing, but it’s impossible to know how much of that increase is actually coming out of the pockets of households. Education spending includes government tuition aid and spending by private nonprofits out of their endowments and contributions; healthcare spending including Medicare, Medicaid, and employer-paid insurance; and housing includes a huge imputation for owner-occupied housing, which may or may not correspond to an actual increase or decrease in out-of-pocket spending.

Once we take those three huge categories out of the data, the remaining PCE has actually gone down by 0.6% since the recession started.  So now let’s look at a table of losers: Selected categories of spending that have gone down.

Americans are spending a little bit less on clothing and hotels; a lot less on foreign travel, video and audio equipment (think televisions), and furniture. The big drop, though, has come in motor vehicles and associated goods and services, like gasoline.

Comments

  1. Trading cars for telephony is a good move, if it means more flex-time/telecommuting.

    Would be interesting to see the breakout between for-profit, public, and private educational institutions. (For all the talk about how expensive private schools are, the local public institutions–Kean, Rutgers, even Essex–have been raising their Fees significantly.

  2. which BEA publication did you get these tables from?
    very interesting.

  3. I have heard arguments recently about higher education in the US being a bubble.

    http://www.byrnehobart.com/blog/higher-education-the-next-big-bad-bubble/

    From these figures could pets also be? The cat has hardly changed in thousands of years. Certainly not enough to make it worth a 14.4% growth in costs. Is the cost coming from fancy breeds? Like Tulips Mania

    • Mike Mathea says:

      Not sure I would call education a bubble but it is being subsidized by government stimulus. Certainly much of the educational system is overstaffed.

  4. The most interesting are probably the secondary ones, more on eating out, the easiest way to cut costs but one of the cheapest form of travel and entertainment, and less on video audio, perhaps winding down of the HD transition. Perhaps people have more time for pets since they are traveling less. One does wonder where the victims of foreclosure have ended up.

  5. Fantastic. Now, the American people are more than prepared to call for help while stranded by the side of the road when their car breaks down.

  6. Sam Penrose says:

    The recession is highly stratified by geography, socioeconomic status, and sector. These results don’t distinguish between “what are the millions of Americans hurt by the recession still squeezing out a few dollars for?” and “what do the millions of Americans untouched by the recession enjoy spending their substantial disposable income on?”

  7. Viola Dace says:

    “Food and drink for off-premises consumption:” Is that food and drink be be consumed at home? Or food and drink consumed away from home? Or just food and drink in general?

  8. very interesting post sir

  9. jbhaferkamp says:

    I’d like to use this information from the BEA in a paper that I’m writing for class. I can’t seem to find the exact release from the BEA site. Can you point me to it? I need to get this info fast, by Monday. Thanks.

  10. Compounding is the extemporaneous preparation of a customized pharmaceutical by prescription order from a licensed practitioner.
    Since these socks have beneficial effects on feet swelling.
    Women are advised no to use Dianabol because it can cause androgenic
    reactions like hirsutism, deepening or voice, and development
    of other male characteristics.

  11. I am really delighted to read this weblog posts which consists of lots of valuable
    data, thanks for providing such data.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Mandel slices and dices some spending numbers from the BEA and says we’re in a communications boom centered around wireless devices. Oh, and we’re still spending some serious dough on our [...]

  2. [...] are spending more today then they were at the end of 2007 by 2.9% (or $285 billion), according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Pretty cool, right? That said, not every industry is up. So let’s look at today’s big [...]

  3. [...] What Consumers are Spending More On [...]

  4. [...] interesting picture of the changing American consumer can be found in the post by Mike Mandel called “Where Americans are Spending More”. Conversely, it also shows were we are spending less.  I compared some of my old budgets to my new [...]

  5. [...] Mandel just posted some figures, culled from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, that looks at spending by American consumers between the fourth quarter of 2007 — when the economic downturn officially began, to the end [...]

  6. [...] Where Americans Are Spending More.. Since the recession started in the fourth quarter of 2007, the common theme has been about Americans cutting back on [...] [...]

  7. [...] Innovation and Growth blog points out that there have been winners and losers since the recession began in December 2007. The entrepreneurs who guessed correctly are doing well; [...]

  8. [...] spending trends in a post on his website titled “Where Americans are Spending More.” the post explains that since the [...]

  9. [...] interesting picture of the changing American consumer can be found in the post by Mike Mandel called “Where Americans are Spending More”. Conversely, it also shows where we are spending less. I compared some of my old budgets to my new [...]

  10. [...] Economy, wrote yesterday about US consumer spending trends in a post on his website titled “Where Americans Are Spending More.” The post explains that since the recession began in 2007, personal consumption expenditures [...]

  11. Quora says:

    Why is it so hard to save money in America?…

    I’m not sure if this directly answers the question, but it speaks more to Americans saving less money as a whole… 1. Culturally speaking, a lot of Americans have grown up with this idea that if you work hard for a certain number of years. You’ll ha…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 65 other followers

%d bloggers like this: