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U.S. Consumer Spending Increased 0.9% in May

Wall Street Journal (06/25/15) Josh Mitchell

Consumer spending rose by 0.9% from April to May, marking the biggest spike in spending since August 2009, the government said yesterday. The bulk of this much-needed jolt to the economy came from goods, including everyday items such as groceries and big-ticket buys like cars. The government report attributed some of this increase to a strengthening labor market that finally is both boosting consumer pay and allowing employers to compete for available workers.

However, even with last month’s surge, consumer spending remains subdued overall. While consumer prices did pick up in May, they were up only 0.2% from a year earlier based on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s inflation gauge. Despite these concerns, the combination of higher spending and incomes is encouraging for central bank officials, even if it is still somewhat unclear whether this growth will maintain its momentum.