This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Sandy Holds Back US Consumer Spending, Pay In Oct.

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Americans cut back on spending last month while their income remained flat. The weakness in part reflected disruptions from Superstorm Sandy that could slow economic growth for the rest of the year.

The Commerce Department said Friday that consumer spending dropped 0.2 percent in October. It was the weakest figure since May, and it compared with a 0.8 percent spending increase in September.

Income had risen 0.4 percent in September.

Work interruptions caused by the storm reduced wages and salaries in October by about $18 billion at an annual rate, the government said. The storm affected 24 states, with the most severe damage in New York and New Jersey.

Consumers may also be scaling back on spending because of fears about the "fiscal cliff." That's the name for automatic tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect in January if Congress and the Obama administration fail to strike a budget deal by then.

"The upshot is that although both incomes and spending will probably bounce back in November, the underlying trend is weak," said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

The depressed spending figures suggest that the economy is growing more slowly in the October-December quarter than it did in the July-September quarter. Consumer spending drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity.

Dales predicts U.S. economic growth will tumble from the 2.7 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter to a weak 1 percent in the October-December period. That's too low to lower the unemployment rate, now at 7.9 percent.

Even discounting the effects of Sandy, income and spending gains would have been meager. Income would have risen a still-weak 0.1 percent. Spending would have been essentially flat, Dales estimated.

After-tax income adjusted for inflation fell 0.1 percent in October. And spending, when adjusted for inflation, dropped 0.3 percent â¿¿ the biggest such decline in three years.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

DOW 18,000.99 -33.94 -0.19%
S&P 500 2,099.65 -0.75 -0.04%
NASDAQ 5,012.9980 +18.3960 0.37%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs