November 25, 2020

Personal income decreased 0.7 percent while consumer spending increased 0.5 percent in October as federal economic recovery payments and pandemic-related assistance programs continued to wind down.

Personal Income Nov25

Personal income
The decrease in personal income in October was more than accounted for by a decrease in government social benefits, primarily “other” social benefits. Within “other” social benefits, there was a decrease in Lost Wages Supplemental Payments, a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that provides wage assistance to individuals impacted by the pandemic.

Partially offsetting this decrease were increases in proprietors’ income and compensation. Within proprietors’ income, an increase in payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program boosted farm proprietors’ income. Additional information on factors affecting monthly personal income can be found on “Effects of Selected Federal Pandemic Response Programs on Personal Income”.

Consumer spending
Current dollar consumer spending increased in October, reflecting an increase in services. Goods was unchanged from September.

Consumer Spending Nov25
  • Within services, the leading contributors to the increase were spending for housing and utilities as well as health care. Spending for housing and utilities was based on Census housing stock data and Energy Information Administration projections for electricity and natural gas usage. Spending for health care services was based partly on volume data for outpatient visits and on revenue data.
  • Within goods, an increase in durable goods (led by recreational goods and vehicles) was offset by a decrease in nondurable goods (led by clothing and footwear), both based on Census Monthly Retail Trade Survey data.

For more information, read the full release.