Cliffs, Nightmares, and Hidden Consumer Taxes

Written by Steven Hansen While watching Chairman Bernanke weave and bob in front of Congress this past week, I started to ponder what he said: The U.S. economy has continued to recover, but economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat during the first half of this year. After rising at an annual rate of 2-1/2 …

Are Price Increases Killing Consumption?

Written by Steven Hansen Based on comments on my last post, that there are misconceptions about consumer spending patterns and the effects of price increases.  Consider several potential effects caused by price increases: A consumer can do without.  No vacation, no private school, no newspaper, or no medical insurance.

Joe Sixpack May Be Returning to Consumption Trough

Written by John Lounsbury and Steven Hansen The New York Times this week posted Consumers Unlikely to Rekindle the Recovery.  To “prove” their point they presented three nasty but unfortunately correct graphics.

Is Consumer Credit Fueling Retail Sales Growth?

Written by Steven Hansen Last week I posed the question whether the consumer was returning. It seems to be a common perception that consumer credit is driving the retail economic expansion. Below is a set of graphs that may surprise. Consumer credit is expanding at an annual rate of 7.75% according the G.19 consumer credit …

Is the Consumer Returning?

Written by Steven Hansen March Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) released this past week suggest that the consumer is returning to the consumption trough. Many pundits are convinced a consumer driven recovery is beginning to grab hold. Per Christopher S. Rupkey, Chief Financial Economist for the Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ: