News Release

BEA 21-07

Personal Income and Outlays, January 2021

Personal income increased $1,954.7 billion (10.0 percent) in January according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (tables 3 and 5). Disposable personal income (DPI) increased $1,963.2 billion (11.4 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $340.9 billion (2.4 percent).

Real DPI increased 11.0 percent in January and Real PCE increased 2.0 percent; goods increased 5.1 percent and services increased 0.5 percent (tables 5 and 7). The PCE price index increased 0.3 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index also increased 0.3 percent (table 9).

COVID-19 Impact on January 2021 Personal Income and Outlays
The estimate for January personal income and outlays was impacted by the continued federal response to the spread of COVID-19. Economic impact payments and increased unemployment insurance benefits were distributed as a result of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, which was enacted on December 27, 2020. Additionally, restrictions and closures continued in some areas of the United States. 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.
  2020 2021
Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan.
Percent change from preceding month
Personal income:  
     Current dollars 0.7 -0.7 -1.2 0.6 10.0
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars 0.7 -0.8 -1.4 0.6 11.4
     Chained (2012) dollars 0.5 -0.9 -1.4 0.2 11.0
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE):  
     Current dollars 1.3 0.2 -0.6 -0.4 2.4
     Chained (2012) dollars 1.1 0.2  -0.6 -0.8 2.0
Price indexes:  
     PCE 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.4 0.3
     PCE, excluding food and energy 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3
Price indexes: Percent change from month one year ago
     PCE 1.4 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.5
     PCE, excluding food and energy 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.5

The increase in personal income in January was more than accounted for by an increase in government social benefits to persons as payments were made to individuals from federal COVID-19 pandemic response programs. The increase in “other” benefits primarily reflected economic impact payments distributed through the CRRSA Act. Unemployment insurance also increased, reflecting an increase in pandemic unemployment compensation, including supplemental weekly payments to unemployment beneficiaries re-introduced by the CRRSA Act (table 3).

The $340.9 billion increase in current dollar PCE in January reflected an increase of $277.2 billion in spending for goods and a $63.7 billion increase in spending for services (table 5). Within goods, the increases were widespread across all categories, led by recreational goods and vehicles (notably, information processing equipment) as well as food and beverages, based on Census Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS) data. Within services, the increase was led by spending for food services and accommodations (more than accounted for by food services), based on MRTS data. Spending for health care (led by outpatient services) also increased, reflecting data on the volume of visits as well as revenue data. Partly offsetting these increases was a decrease in housing and utilities (led by electricity and gas), reflecting data from the Energy Information Administration. Detailed information on monthly PCE spending can be found on Table 2.3.5U.

Personal outlays increased $348.7 billion in January (table 3). Personal saving was $3.93 trillion in January and the personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 20.5 percent (table 1).

Updates to Personal Income and Outlays

Estimates have been updated for July through December 2020. For July through September, estimates for compensation, personal taxes, and contributions for government social insurance reflect the incorporation of the most recently available third-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
October November
Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised
(Billions of dollars) (Percent) (Billions of dollars) (Percent)
Personal income:  
     Current dollars -255.9 -241.6 -1.3 -1.2 116.6 112.9 0.6 0.6
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars -255.7 -247.5 -1.5 -1.4 111.6 103.1 0.6 0.6
     Chained (2012) dollars -229.6 -223.9 -1.5 -1.4 34.3 35.2 0.2 0.2
Personal consumption expenditures:  
     Current dollars -99.0 -85.5 -0.7 -0.6 -27.9 -57.0 -0.2 -0.4
     Chained (2012) dollars -89.2 -78.5 -0.7 -0.6 -79.8 -98.9 -0.6 -0.8


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Next release: March 26, 2021 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
Personal Income and Outlays, February 2021

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