U.S. Outlook: Consumers are on a roll

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

Consumers are on a roll. But how long can it last? Consumer spending has been robust. Growth in nominal retail sales, including food services from a year ago, was 6.6% in August and has exceeded 6.0% over the last four months. Crowds of shoppers walking in a mall, focusing on their walking legs.

This is a clear sign of household strength and resilience at this stage of the expansion.

For more on this, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on September 14.

Key observations:

  • Annual growth in 2018 has averaged 6.1% through August compared to 4.1% over the same period in 2017.
  • Consumer confidence rose to an expansion high of 133.4 in August.
  • The fastest growing categories of retail spending have been gas stations (+20.3%), nonstore retailers (+10.4%), and restaurant and bars (+10.1%).
  • While personal savings rates still remain healthy, without faster real income growth to support it, consumer spending will inevitably slow.

Read my full report.

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