The Bright Side - Personal Income Increased $42.4 billion, or 0.3 percent in October

For all of the bad news that we hear day in and day out, there are some positives. Today, we learned that personal income actually rose in October. That's right, people who are working are making more.

For all of the bad news that we hear day in and day out, there are some positives.  Today, we learned that personal income actually rose in October.  That's right, people who are working are making more.

Personal income increased $42.4 billion, or 0.3 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI)increased $45.1 billion, or 0.4 percent, in October, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

At the same time, spending was down.  Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $102.8 billion, or 1.0 percent.  That's a very significant decline.

So putting these two together the picture that emerges is one of a consumer who is earning money but not spending it.  That means we're all socking money away and paying down debt.  As I've argued, until the consumers in this country dig themselves out from record debt, it's going to be hard to jumpstart spending.  Providing credit to people who are already maxed out is like providing dessert to someone who has just eaten a ten course meal.  Good luck.

Overall though, the fact that salaries have not collapsed is an encouraging the sign.  Consumers that earn more will eventually serve as a driver of economic growth.

Sam Cass
Sam Cass: Sam Cass, MBA, JD, University of Texas at Austin. Always a fan of Leonardo Da Vinci.

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