Economy Watch: Personal Income, Expenditures Up in August

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Friday that U.S. personal income increased $57.2 billion, or 0.4 percent in August compared with July, and disposable personal income—after taxes, the kind everyone likes—was up 0.5 percent. Real disposable personal income, which is personal income adjusted to account for the price increases consumers face, was up 0.3 percent.

Month-over-month, personal consumption expenditures (people out buying things, but not counting interest payments and the like) were up $34.5 billion, or 0.3 percent. Personal saving—which is disposable income minus personal outlays—was $580.7 billion in August, compared with $562.8 billion in July. The personal saving rate was 4.6 percent in August, compared with 4.5 percent in July.

The BEA’s price index for personal consumption expenditures edge upward 0.1 percent in August, the same increase as in July. Take the jumpy prices of food and energy out of the equation and the price index increased 0.2 percent in August, or a bit more than the 0.1 percent increase in July.

Freddie Mac: Delinquencies keep dropping

Freddie Mac reported on Friday that its single-family serious delinquency rate ticked down from 2.7 percent in July to 2.64 percent in August. That’s the lowest monthly rate since April 2009, and a considerable decline since August 2012, when the rate was 3.36 percent. The company compiles its index using data on mortgages it owns or controls, and defines serious delinquency as mortgages that are “three monthly payments or more past due or in foreclosure.”

The GSE’s serious delinquency rate has been steadily declining since its peak in 2010, but it’s still high, historically speaking. From roughly 1998 to 2008, the Freddie Mac serious delinquency rate held steady at a little less than 1 percent, as did that of and Fannie Mae, which will reports its current rate later this week.

Consumers more pessimistic in September

Reuters/University of Michigan reported on Friday that its final consumer sentiment index for September came in at 77.5, down from the August reading of 82.1, but up from the preliminary September reading of 76.8. That was less than economists predicted, and might represent a bit of pessimism over the fact that some members of Congress are (once again) muttering about letting the nation default on its debts, as they did in the summer of 2011, which unsettled the economy for a while.

Wall Street was also a little pessimistic on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 70.06 points, or 0.41 percent. The S&P 500 was off 0.41 percent and the Nasdaq edged downward by 0.15 percent.

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