News Release

BEA 21-48

Personal Income and Outlays, August 2021

Personal income increased $35.5 billion (0.2 percent) in August according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (tables 3 and 5). Disposable personal income (DPI) increased $18.9 billion (0.1 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $130.5 billion (0.8 percent).

Real DPI decreased 0.3 percent in August and Real PCE increased 0.4 percent; goods increased 0.6 percent and services increased 0.3 percent (tables 5 and 7). The PCE price index increased 0.4 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.3 percent (table 9).

Apr. May June  July  Aug.
Percent change from preceding month
Personal income:  
     Current dollars -13.6  -2.2  0.2  1.1  0.2
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars -15.3  -2.6  0.0 1.1  0.1
     Chained (2012) dollars -15.8  -3.1 -0.5  0.7  -0.3 
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE):  
     Current dollars 1.0  0.0 1.1  -0.1  0.8 
     Chained (2012) dollars 0.5  -0.5  0.6  -0.5  0.4 
Price indexes:  
     PCE 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.4
     PCE, excluding food and energy 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.3
Price indexes: Percent change from month one year ago
     PCE 3.6 4.0 4.0 4.2 4.3
     PCE, excluding food and energy 3.1 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.6


COVID-19 Impact on August 2021 Personal Income and Outlays
The estimate for August personal income and outlays reflected the continued economic recovery, reopening of establishments, and government response related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Government social benefits increased in August, reflecting advance Child Tax Credit payments authorized by the American Rescue Plan. 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 increase in personal income in August primarily reflected increases in compensation of employees and government social benefits (table 3). Within compensation, the increase primarily reflected an increase in private wages and salaries. Within government social benefits, an increase in "other" social benefits, reflecting advance Child Tax Credit payments authorized by the American Rescue Plan, was partly offset by a decrease in unemployment insurance, reflecting decreases in payments from the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

The $130.5 billion increase in current dollar PCE in August reflected an increase of $66.0 billion in spending for goods and a $64.6 billion increase in spending for services (table 3). Within goods, increases in spending for food and beverages as well as “other” nondurable goods (mainly, household supplies as well as recreational items) were partly offset by a decrease in spending for motor vehicles and parts. Within services, the increases were widespread, led by “other” services (mainly, personal care and clothing services), housing and utilities, and health care. Detailed information on monthly PCE spending can be found on Table 2.3.5U.

Personal outlays increased $132.6 billion in August (table 3). Personal saving was $1.71 trillion in August and the personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 9.4 percent (table 1).

The PCE price index for August increased 4.3 percent from one year ago, reflecting increases in both goods and services. Energy prices increased 24.9 percent and food prices increased 2.8 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index for August increased 3.6 percent from one year ago (table 11).

Updates to Personal Income and Outlays

Estimates have been updated for April through July. 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
June  July 
Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised
(Billions of dollars) (Percent) (Billions of dollars) (Percent)
Personal income:  
     Current dollars 37.2 35.1 0.2 0.2 225.9 232.2 1.1 1.1
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars -0.8  4.4 0.0 0.0 198.0 202.0 1.1 1.1
     Chained (2012) dollars -83.2  -80.4  -0.5  -0.5  107.4 112.7 0.7 0.7
Personal consumption expenditures:  
     Current dollars 167.0 177.6 1.1 1.1 42.2 -10.3  0.3 -0.1 
     Chained (2012) dollars 72.5 80.4 0.5 0.6 -19.8  -63.4  -0.1  -0.5 


*          *          *

Next release: October 29, 2021 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
Personal Income and Outlays, September 2021

*          *          *