Consumer spending rises in March

Consumers in the U.S. were opening their wallets more as spending increased significantly in March, according to a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Monday.  Personal income was also up, increasing $11.4 billion (0.1 percent) in March, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $0.6 billion, (less than 0.1 percent) and personal consumption expenditures(PCE) increased $123.5 billion (0.9 percent).

Real DPI decreased 0.2 percent in March, and real PCE increased 0.7 percent. The PCE price index increased 0.2 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased less than 0.1 percent.

The increase in personal income in March primarily reflected increases in compensation of employees and government social benefits to persons that were partially offset by decreases in personal interest income and farm proprietors’ income.

In March, real PCE increased $87.4 billion, which reflected a $66.3 billion increase in spending on goods and an increase of $27.9 billion in spending on services. Within goods, increases were widespread, with spending on motor vehicles and parts the leading contributor. Within services, the largest contributor to the increase was spending on health care.

Personal outlays increased $126.5 billion in March. Personal saving was $1.03 trillion in March, and the personal saving rate, personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income, was 6.5 percent.