• Wed. May 29th, 2024

Consumer Spending Drives GDP Growth in Fourth Quarter, but Inflation Causes Concerns for Economic Sustainability

BySamantha Jones

Mar 28, 2024
US economy grew at an upwardly revised rate of 3.4% in the fourth quarter

In the fourth quarter, consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of GDP, increased at a 3.3% rate. This growth was driven by higher spending on health care and financial services, although spending on goods was revised lower. Nonresidential investment figures also strengthened, with upward revisions to spending on structures, intellectual property, and equipment. Despite this growth, the personal consumption expenditures price index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation metric, rose at a 1.8% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the lowest since 2020. Excluding food and energy, the index increased by 2%, slightly less than the previous estimate.

Recent earnings reports have shown that publicly-traded companies are experiencing higher gross margins due to relief on input costs, though this isn’t necessarily translating to lower prices for consumers. This trend has contributed to investor optimism as the S&P 500 is on track for its fifth consecutive month of gains. President Joe Biden has highlighted strong corporate earnings as a sign of companies profiting off of consumers with high prices, especially in grocery stores. However, recent economic indicators suggest that consumers may be becoming more selective in their spending following years of pent-up demand-driven consumption.

Data on personal consumption expenditures for February are expected on Friday. The trajectory of inflation and the labor market will play a crucial role in determining how long consumers can continue to support economic growth. Another report showed that continuing applications for US unemployment benefits rose to 1.82 million in the week ending March 16th

By Samantha Jones

As a content writer at newsnnk.com, I weave words into captivating stories that inform and engage our readers. With a passion for storytelling and an eye for detail, I strive to deliver high-quality and engaging content that resonates with our audience. From breaking news to thought-provoking features, I am dedicated to providing informative and compelling articles that keep our readers informed and entertained. Join me on this journey as we explore the world through the power of words.

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