4/18/2017 4:16:00 PM

U.S. Economy in a Snapshot Shows Decline in Consumer Spending

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York also reviewed insights into homeownership, education and student loan debt in the monthly report.


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Consumer spending declined in February, possibly due to a delay in tax refund disbursements, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest U.S. Economy in a Snapshot report.

Real personal consumption expenditures declined  0.1 percent in February following a 0.3 percent decline in January, according to the Fed’s report.

Consumers’ real disposable income increased slightly in February, by 0.2 percent after a 0.1 percent decline in January, according to the Fed.

Their personal savings rate increased slightly from 5.4 percent in January to 5.6 percent in February this year.

While payroll growth was slower in March, other factors show ongoing improvement in the labor market, according to the Fed.

The unemployment rate declined from 4.7 percent in February to 4.5 percent in March. The Fed also reports that the employment-population ratio increased 0.1 percent to 60.1 percent in March and the labor force participation rate remained stable at 63 percent.

This month’s U.S. Economy in a Snapshot also features insights into homeownership, education and student debt using National Student Clearinghouse education records and data from the New York Federal Reserve Consumer Credit Panel.

The report focuses on two questions:

  • “Is homeownership related to college attendance and student debt?”
  • “Does this relationship vary by degree type and graduation?”

Overall, the Fed found that graduation is connected with noticeably higher homeownership rates, regardless of debt status.

However, consumers with more than $25,000 in student loan debt have lower homeownership rates, according to the report.

U.S. Economy in a Snapshot, released monthly and launched in June 2015, is designed to provide a condensed, comprehensive overview of current economic and financial developments. It presents charts and commentary on a broad range of topics that include labor and financial markets, consumer behavior and the global economy.  

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