News Release

BEA 20—60

Personal Income and Outlays, October 2020

Personal income decreased $130.1 billion (0.7 percent) in October according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (tables 3 and 5). Disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $134.8 billion (0.8 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $70.9 billion (0.5 percent).

Real DPI decreased 0.8 percent in October and Real PCE increased 0.5 percent (tables 5 and 7). The PCE price index was unchanged from September. The PCE price index excluding food and energy was also unchanged (table 9).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on October 2020 Personal Income and Outlays
The October estimate for personal income and outlays was impacted by the response to the spread of COVID-19. Federal economic recovery payments slowed as pandemic-related assistance programs continued to wind down. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the personal income and outlays estimate because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified. For more information, see Effects of Selected Federal Pandemic Response Programs on Personal Income.

The decrease in personal income in October was led by a decrease in government social benefits (table 3). Within government social benefits, “other” social benefits decreased which primarily reflected a decrease in Lost Wages Supplemental Payments, a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that provides wage assistance to individuals impacted by the pandemic.

Offsetting the decrease in government social benefits were increases in compensation and proprietors’ income (led by farm). Within compensation, an increase in private wages and salaries was partly offset by a decrease in government wages and salaries, which decreased $8.4 billion in October, following a decrease of $8.2 billion in September and an increase of $22.8 billion in August. Temporary and intermittent decennial Census workers boosted government wages by $3.7 billion in October after adding $9.3 billion in September and $10.9 billion in August. Within farm proprietors’ income, there was an increase in payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program related to supporting farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID-19.

June. July. Aug. Sept. Oct.
Percent change from preceding month
Personal income:  
     Current dollars -1.1  0.9 -2.5  0.7 -0.7 
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars -1.4  0.8 -2.9  0.7 -0.8 
     Chained (2012) dollars -1.8  0.6 -3.3  0.6 -0.8 
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE):  
     Current dollars 6.5 1.5 1.2 1.2 0.5
     Chained (2012) dollars 5.9 1.2 0.9 1.1 0.5
Price indexes:  
     PCE 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.0
     PCE, excluding food and energy 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.0
Price indexes: Percent change from month one year ago
     PCE 0.9 1.0 1.3 1.4 1.2
     PCE, excluding food and energy 1.1 1.3 1.5 1.6 1.4

The $63.5 billion increase in real PCE in October reflected increases of $12.7 billion in spending for goods and $48.7 billion in spending for services (table 7). The leading contributor to the increase in spending for goods was recreational goods and vehicles (led by information processing equipment) based on Census Monthly Retail Trade Survey data. The leading contributor to the increase in spending for services were spending for health care (led by hospitals). Spending for health care was based on volume data for outpatient visits and revenue data. Detailed information on monthly real PCE spending can be found on Table 2.3.6U.

Personal outlays increased $67.5 billion in October (table 3). Personal saving was $2.38 trillion in October and the personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 13.6 percent (table 1).

Updates to Personal Income and Outlays

Estimates have been updated for April through September. For April through June, estimates for compensation, personal taxes, and contributions for government social insurance reflect the incorporation of the most recently available second-quarter wage and salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. Revised and previously published changes from the preceding month for current-dollar personal income, and for current-dollar and chained (2012) dollar DPI and PCE, are shown below.

  Change from preceding month
August September
Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised
(Billions of dollars) (Percent) (Billions of dollars) (Percent)
Personal income:  
     Current dollars -496.0  -505.7  -2.5  -2.5  170.3 147.1 0.9 0.7
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars -525.5  -531.3  -2.9  -2.9  150.3 130.8 0.9 0.7
     Chained (2012) dollars -523.4  -528.2  -3.2  -3.3  108.9 91.5 0.7 0.6
Personal consumption expenditures:  
     Current dollars 147.9 175.3 1.0 1.2 201.4 175.5 1.4 1.2
     Chained (2012) dollars 91.4 116.5 0.7 0.9 159.2 136.2 1.2 1.1

Next release: December 23, 2020 at 8:30 A.M. EST
Personal Income and Outlays: November 2020