Consumer Checkpoint is a regular publication from Bank of America Institute. It aims to provide a holistic and real-time estimate of U.S. consumers’ spending and their financial well-being, leveraging the depth and breadth of Bank of America proprietary data. Any such Bank of America proprietary data is not intended to be reflective or indicative of, and should not be relied upon as, the results of operations, financial conditions or performance of Bank of America.
Shifting gears, but still going forward
- After an exceptionally strong January, consumer spending somewhat normalized in February with Bank of America credit and debit card spending per household up 2.7% year-over-year (YoY). On a three-month annualized basis, card spending per household grew 4.8% in February, outpacing inflation. This suggests to us that consumer spending remains resilient even as the rate of spending growth moderates.
- Spending continues to be supported by positive consumer “fundamentals”. Measures of consumer health such as the inflows into customer savings and checking accounts relative to outflows remain in fairly good shape and median bank balances continue to be elevated despite gradual drawdowns for the middle- and lower-income households.
- Strong labor markets are also bolstering the consumer. In the technology sector, which has seen high profile job loss announcements, we find the impact on spending in six MSAs (metropolitan statistical area) with high shares of high-tech employment (based on Census Bureau data) to be modest so far.
Read our full analysis for a more in-depth look at these trends.
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Fewer jobs, tighter belts?
Job losses this year have had a larger impact on consumer savings and discretionary spending than in the prior years.