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Oct. 30, 2020
By Mary HightowerU of A System Division of Agriculture
(457 words)(Download this story in MS Word format here.)
(Newsrooms: with https://www.uaex.uada.edu/media-resources/news/october2020/10-30-2020-Ark-COVID-3rd-quarter-rally.aspx)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Consumer spending inched upward again while total savings began
to shrink in September, according to the monthly Personal Income and Outlays report
from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The Oct. 30 report from the BEA, part of the U.S. Commerce Department, showed that
personal consumption expenditures increased by 1.4 percent in September, outpacing
personal income, which grew by 0.9 percent from August.
“With pandemic-related government support tapering off, gains in personal income will
have to come increasingly from a recovery in economic activity,” John Anderson, an
economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the Dale
Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, said. “As the pace of reopening
slows, those gains will also slow.”
Anderson released a same-day analysis of the report, part of a continuing series of
analyses examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
“With the growth in expenditures exceeding growth in personal income, the personal
savings rate dipped a bit in September compared to August,” he said. “The personal
savings rate in September worked out to 14.3 percent – its lowest level since March,
but still about double the typical pre-pandemic rate of saving.”
The personal savings rate is savings as a percentage of disposable personal income.
Where the money went
Anderson said consumer spending was fairly broad-based, with growth in nearly all
major spending categories. Spending on goods rose 2.2 percent in September.
“Consumers have shown themselves willing to spend on goods during the pandemic, to
some extent as a substitute for foregone travel and recreation spending,” Anderson
said. “Barring another round of widespread, pandemic-induced job losses, as in March
and April, spending on goods ought to hold up reasonably well.”
Spending on food services gained 1.5 percent in September. “This was the smallest
rate of gain since May. Food service spending in September remained about 12 percent
below the pre-pandemic January level.
Spending in the hard-hit services sector rose 0.8 percent. Anderson said “recovery
in the service sector continues to progress – but at a slower pace in September than
COVID case counts
As the number of COVID-19 cases rises again, “it will be interesting to see how consumer
spending holds up over the next two or three months,” he said. “Rising COVID case
counts may well encourage some consumers to increase their social distancing behavior
– even without another hard shutdown, which is not out of the question in some jurisdictions
– likely undoing some of the recent gains in service sectors like food service and
accommodations, transportation and recreation.”
Despite vulnerabilities in the services sector, however, Anderson said that any downturn
would not be “likely approaching the March-May experience.”
See Anderson’s analysis at https://bit.ly/34EoEii.
To learn more about extension and research programs in Arkansas, visit https://uada.edu/
Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk, @uaex_edu or @ArkAgResearch.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary HightowerChief Communications OfficerUniversity of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture firstname.lastname@example.org 501-671-2006