Here are the latest insights from Goldman Sachs Research on the financial health of the US consumer today.
Consumer spending grew at a firm pace to end 2023 and our economists at Goldman Sachs Research expect above-consensus consumer spending growth in 2024. Let’s take a deeper look into their analysis.
The latest economic data showed that the core PCE price index, which excludes the volatile food and energy categories, increased 0.17% month over month in December and the year over year rate declined to 2.93%, somewhat below expectations.
Headline prices rose 0.17% on the month and increased 2.60% from a year earlier, inching closer to the Fed’s 2% target.
Consumer spending continued to grow at a firm pace of 0.7% in December, two tenths above consensus expectations. Adjusting for inflation, spending rose 0.5% on the month, reflecting increases of 1.1% and 0.3% in goods and services spending, respectively.
Nominal disposable income (not adjusted for inflation) increased by 0.3% in December despite a 0.3% increase in personal taxes. Our Research economists forecast that real disposable income will remain firm in 2024 due to continued job growth, real wage growth, and rising interest income.
Household balance sheets have strengthened due to the recent increase in asset prices which could provide a positive impulse to spending growth in 2024. The net worth-to-disposable personal income ratio remains near its all-time high. The personal savings rate declined to 3.7% in December.
Consumer credit growth slowed to 2.8% year over year after its extremely fast pace of growth in early 2023.
Household and debt servicing costs remain low by historical standards. Auto loan and credit card delinquency rates have risen recently, likely due to a riskier borrower pool, rising interest expenses, and the restart of student loan payments.
Our Research colleagues expect that delinquency rates will rise modestly going forward barring a more significant deterioration in the labor market.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose in its January report, reflecting more optimistic expectations on the downward trajectory of inflation.
After ending 2023 on a strong note, Goldman Sachs Research economists believe the outlook for consumer spending is likely to remain strong throughout 2024.
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