Consumer spending, the key to the American economy, and by extension the global economy, is one of the most watched activities in the world, but results may vary, as they say, depending on who is doing the counting and what they’re counting.
The Gallup Daily tracking survey is one of those measures. The poll, based on telephone interviews of over 15,000 adults aged 18 and older each month, asks consumers the total amount they spent ‘yesterday,’ not counting normal monthly bills and the purchase of a home or a vehicle. It’s Gallup’s measure of discretionary spending. And the results for August weren’t exactly what everyone had hoped for.
American consumers reported spending on average $94 per day in August. That was flat from July, though in the prior two years, there had been a marked increase from July to August. And it was down from $95 a day in August 2013.
During the Great Recession, Gallup’s measure of consumer spending hit lows between $60 and $70 a day, but since then, spending picked up with fairly consistent year-over-year gains. In May this year, spending hit $98 per day, a new post-crisis record (before the crisis, consumers averaged above $100 per day!).
This post was published at Wolf Street on September 2, 2014.