consumer spending (5)


1291039?profile=RESIZE_320x320After hearing one analyst commenting that lower prices at the pump would translate into increased oil demand, I had to open up the commentary notepad.  (click on charts to enlarge)

The first thing that immediately came to mind was the rising costs elsewhere in Americans pocketbooks that would take up the slack of lower gasoline prices, such as rent.  Social Security recipients for example will see an increase of 1.9% in 2015 however this is no where on pace with the increases in average rents which continue to climb.  In fact, how about a rent increase of 6.9% in November according to Trulia?  Ouch!

Indeed incomes, when adjusted for inflation, have definitely not kept pace since 2000. (chart right).  Add to this the fact that the majority of new jobs being created are at the low end of the pay scale and you have a situation where any savings at the pump are not going to translate into further driving and gasoline demand but to holiday spending, consumer staples and yes, pay the rent.

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Bleh Black Friday - Wait For Cyber Numbers

1291005?profile=RESIZE_320x320The National Federation of Retailers is out with some bad news about Black Friday – it sucked.  Some superlatives via WSJ:

“Shoppers spent an average $159.55 online, down 10.2% from $177.67 last year.”

“the number of people who went shopping over the four-day weekend declined by 5.2% to 134 million, from 141 million last year.”

“Total spending from Thursday through Sunday sank 11% from a year earlier to $50.9 billion”

The excuses you’ll hear will range from the warm weather in the Northeast to the protests to the late scheduling of Hanukkah this year to the whole “consumers are smart enough to wait til closer to Christmas”.  My own take is that online is going to be big all month long and traditional shopping patterns are null and void. There’s nothing important about Black Friday to most consumers anymore. They know the deals will be endless and often.

Courtesy of ReformedBroker

Kos here - My other thought is that it's tough to spend a lot on Christmas when you're earning minimu

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1290814?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024Americans lust for things they cannot afford continues as credit usage has rebounded since the height of the credit crisis however, with the Fed's current zero interest rate policy (ZIRP), the ongoing use of credit is not necessarily a thing for concern.

After all, if you were able to refinance your home from 6% down to 3%, that's a good thing, right?  Ditto for your credit cards which may have been 9.9% prior to 2008 and now down at much lower levels.  Indeed ZIRP has aided corporations and individuals to grab historic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to restructure existing debt and issue new debt for acquisitions for almost nothing.

In that respect, I guess Obama's statement "we're much better off than we were" would ring true here.

What does bother me, however, is the enormous recovery and usage of subprime lending.  Those loans for many autos, payday loans, title loans and credit cards for those with less than a pristine credit FICO score.

While working in mortgage banking, w

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173120ac643884fb82dedc93275326e3.jpg?width=300Pretty much as I had expected.  Consumers are tapped out and you can blame inflation the Fed says doesn't exist the necessities, food and gasoline.  Certainly the packages have become small to mask the cost but we all know it's there, lurking.  We're getting less and less for our hard earned buck and $20 just doesn't buy what it used to....leaving less for dining out, electronics, clothing, vacations, etc.  

Retailers beginning to feel the pinch may shift to more coupons, clearance sales, preferred customer discounts.  Others will continue to tighten the belt internally moving more to cloud, temp agencies for personnel (a huge cost savings) and other cost-cutting measures.  Insurers for example have discovered that making lump sum payments to Doctors for Cancer patients saves them over 30%.

It won't take much, however, for overseas tensions to cause a spike in oil/gas prices and then what?  We're teetering on the spending cliff in my opinion and something has to give.........

From Gall

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1290832?profile=RESIZE_320x320A view of the the NFIB survey and wage growth gives a hint of what may lie ahead in the wage sector.  Consumer spending dropped $7 in June which surprised many. 


While Americans' spending in June was generally on par or lower than their average May spending, this month's $7 drop is one of the largest recorded by Gallup during this time of year since 2008, when June spending fell by $10. The June 2008 spending average of $104 is still the highest average for that month in Gallup's six-year trend.

Can it be the new jobs being created (majority at the low end) is weighing on consumers pocketbook?  #shocker!  But what about the spending of the wealthy lifting all boats?  You know; that good old trickle down effect?

According to Econoday, the drop in daily spending among all Americans can largely be attributed to upper-income Americans spending less in June. Could the wealthy be running low on things to buy?  Yes sarcasm on my part but a drop is not what any

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