The most recent data release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) showed that personal income inched up 0.1% in March after a 0.2% gain in February and a 0.1% decrease in January. Gains in personal income are largely driven by increases in compensation of employees. Year over year, personal income increased by 3.8%. Real disposable income, income remaining after adjusted for taxes and inflation, slipped 0.2% in March after being flat in February and a 0.2% dip in January.
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) climbed 0.9% in March after a modest 0.1% increase in February. Real spending, adjusted to remove inflation, increased 0.7% in March after being unchanged in February.
As a result of a boost in consumption expenditures and a slower growth of income, the savings rate declined to 6.5% in March, which was the lowest rate after November 2018. The savings rate stayed in the 6%- 8% range with an average rate of 6.9% since 2013. The savings rate rose with the onset of the Great Recession as households repaired their balance sheets. However, this process of deleveraging held back GDP growth due to reduced consumption.