Deloitte: Spending Index Down but Conditions "Positive" for Consumers

DeloitteNEW YORK-The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index, which tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending, declined from 4.5 in July to 4.0 in August.

The index is comprised of four components: tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices. A Deloitte statement noted that the tax rate is up 6.4 percent from last year, to 11.8 percent. Real wages also declined from the previous month, although they were up 0.2 percent from the same time last year.

Initial unemployment claims were down 7.8 percent in August. Real new home prices were up 7.9 percent from the same period of last year, to about $110,000.

Daniel Bachman, Deloitte's senior U.S. economist, said the index, even though it fell in August, "continues to indicate that the overall conditions are positive for consumer spending. Americans may remain in a better position to spend, particularly as home prices increase and unemployment rates drop, both of which contribute to improved household finances and sentiment."

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