Jobs Report Feeds Delusional Economic Narrative – Ep. 358

Jobs Friday

Today is the first day of June and it’s also jobs Friday. But before we get to the always highly-anticipated nonfarm payroll number, I want to talk about some of the economic data that came out yesterday, on Thursday.

Personal Income and Spending

I think the most significant release was the Personal Income and Spending number for the month of April. The spending numbers were so strong that it prompted the Atlanta Fed to adjust its estimate for Q2 GDP all the way up to 4.6% and I think they notched it up another tenth today to 4.7%, so this is the highest estimate they’ve had since they had that 5.4% estimate for Q1.  Of course we now know that we got 2.2%, so they were much too optimistic on Q1 and my gut is they’re equally overly optimistic on Q2.

Spending Went Up as Income Went Down

Let’s talk about this Personal Income and Spending data.  The surprise was not on the income, but on the spending. In fact, the revisions, when they went back to March. the original report was for a .3% gain in income and a .4% gain in spending. They ended up revising the income number down, so income rose only by .2%, but they revised spending up. Spending went up by .5%. What does that mean? That means savings went down quite a bit, because, where did the money come from to finance the extra spending?  It didn’t come from income, so it came from savings, or it came from debt. Either people depleted their existing savings, or they went deeper into debt by putting their purchases on the credit card.

Spending Money Twice as Fast as They Are Earning It

But then, for the month of April, we got a .3% increase in income, which was anticipated, but spending, instead of rising by .4%, rose by .6%. So consumers are spending money twice as fast as they are earning it for the month of April: .6 up on spending, .3 up on earnings . So, again, what does this tell you? People are tapping into an already shallow savings pool or they are running up m0re credit card debt to buy stuff.