The Consumer Is Back!

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Credit may be severely constrained, but Americans are once again opening their wallets.

From this morning’s GDP report:

Real personal consumption expenditures increased 3.4 per cent in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 0.9 per cent in the second.  Durable goods increased 22.3 per cent, in contrast to a decrease of 5.6 per cent.  The third-quarter increase largely reflected motor vehicle purchases under the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 (popularly called, “Cash for Clunkers” Program).

Nondurable goods increased 2.0 per cent in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 1.9 per cent in the second.  Services increased 1.2 per cent, compared with an increase of 0.2 per cent.

Real nonresidential fixed investment decreased 2.5 per cent in the third quarter, compared with a
decrease of 9.6 per cent in the second.  Nonresidential structures decreased 9.0 per cent, compared with a decrease of 17.3 per cent.  Equipment and software increased 1.1 per cent, in contrast to a decrease of 4.9 per cent.  Real residential fixed investment increased 23.4 per cent, in contrast to a decrease of 23.3 per cent.

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