U.S. Outlook: Can the U.S. consumer keep up the pace?

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

The U.S. consumer is often the most important piece of our economic puzzle, making the difference between a solid economic expansion and a mediocre one.

Farmers market scene as several adults look over baskets of red, yellow, and orange tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables.You could say the consumer has been the engine of U.S. economic growth lately.

For more on this, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on Nov. 9.

Key observations:
  • Since 1947 the consumer spending share of GDP has ranged from a low 58.9% in 1967 to 68.5% in 2011. The 2017 share was just below the 2011 all-time high at 68.4%.
  • Since May the gap between consumer spending growth and income growth has widened over time.
  • The consumer savings rate has declined for seven straight months since reaching 7.4% in February.
  • Our forecast is for annualized real consumer spending growth to decelerate from the current white-hot pace of 4.0% to 2.6% in the fourth quarter.
Read my full report.


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