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Personal Income and Outlays, December 2020

Summary:
Personal income increased 6.6 billion (0.6 percent) in December according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (tables 3 and 5). Disposable personal income (DPI) increased 1.6 billion (0.6 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased .9 billion (0.2 percent). Real DPI increased 0.2 percent in December and Real PCE decreased 0.6 percent (tables 5 and 7). The PCE price index increased 0.4 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.3 percent (table 9).   2020 Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Percent change from preceding month Personal income:        Current dollars -2.6  0.8 -0.7 -1.3 0.6 Disposable personal income:        Current dollars -3.1 0.8 -0.8 -1.5

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Personal income increased $116.6 billion (0.6 percent) in December according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (tables 3 and 5). Disposable personal income (DPI) increased $111.6 billion (0.6 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $27.9 billion (0.2 percent).

Real DPI increased 0.2 percent in December and Real PCE decreased 0.6 percent (tables 5 and 7). The PCE price index increased 0.4 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.3 percent (table 9).

  2020
Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
Percent change from preceding month
Personal income:  
     Current dollars -2.6  0.8 -0.7 -1.3 0.6
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars -3.1 0.8 -0.8 -1.5 0.6
     Chained (2012) dollars -3.3 0.6 -0.8 -1.5 0.2
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE):  
     Current dollars 1.2 1.3 0.3 -0.7 -0.2
     Chained (2012) dollars 0.9  1.1  0.2 -0.7 -0.6
Price indexes:  
     PCE 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.4 
     PCE, excluding food and energy 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.3
Price indexes: Percent change from month one year ago
     PCE 1.2 1.4 1.2 1.1 1.3
     PCE, excluding food and energy 1.4 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.5

COVID-19 Impact on December 2020 Personal Income and Outlays

The December estimate for personal income and outlays was impacted by the response to the spread of COVID-19. Many provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act continued to wind down before the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act was enacted on December 27, 2020. Additionally, new restrictions and closures took effect in some areas of the United States. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the personal income and outlays estimate because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified. For more information, see Effects of Selected Federal Pandemic Response Programs on Personal Income.

The increase in personal income in December primarily reflected increases in government social benefits, compensation, and personal dividend income that were partly offset by a decrease in proprietors’ income (table 3).

  • Within government social benefits, unemployment insurance increased reflecting an increase in pandemic unemployment compensation, the supplemental weekly payments to unemployment beneficiaries re-introduced through the CRRSA Act. There was also an increase in “other” social benefits, reflecting an increase in payments from the Provider Relief Fund to nonprofit institutions.
  • Within compensation, the main contributor was an increase in wages and salaries in service-producing industries based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics.
  • The increase in personal dividend income reflected data from company financial reports.
  • Within proprietors’ income, both farm and nonfarm decreased based on declines in Paycheck Protection Program loans to businesses. Farm proprietors’ income was also impacted by a decrease in payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

The $79.8 billion decrease in real PCE in December reflected a decrease of $71.9 billion in spending for goods and a $17.6 billion decrease in spending for services (table 7). Within goods, durable goods (led by recreational goods and vehicles) and nondurable goods (led by food and beverages) both contributed to the decrease and were partly offset by an increase in spending for motor vehicles and parts (led by new light trucks). Within services, the largest contributors were decreases in spending for food services and accommodations (led by food services) and spending for health care (led by hospitals). These were partly offset by an increase in spending for household utilities (led by electricity). Detailed information on monthly real PCE spending can be found on Table 2.3.6U.

Personal outlays decreased $39.2 billion in December (table 3). Personal saving was $2.38 trillion in December and the personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 13.7 percent (table 1).

Updates to Personal Income and Outlays

Estimates have been updated for October and November. Revised and previously published changes from the preceding month for current-dollar personal income, and for current-dollar and chained (2012) dollar DPI and PCE, are shown below.

  Change from preceding month
October November
Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised
(Billions of dollars) (Percent) (Billions of dollars) (Percent)
Personal income:  
     Current dollars -127.4 -134.6 -0.6 -0.7 -221.8 -255.9 -1.1 -1.3
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars -130.5 -143.4 -0.7 -0.8 -218.0 -255.7 -1.2 -1.5
     Chained (2012) dollars -121.1 -132.5 -0.8 -0.8 -197.3 -229.6 -1.3 -1.5
Personal consumption expenditures:  
     Current dollars 47.4 37.9 0.3 0.3 -63.3 -99.0 -0.4 -0.7
     Chained (2012) dollars 38.9 30.6 0.3 0.2 -58.5 -89.2 -0.4 -0.7

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Next release: February 26, 2021 at 8:30 A.M. EST
Personal Income and Outlays, January 2021

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Personal Income and Outlays
Release Dates for 2021
Estimate Release Date
December 2020 January 29, 2021
January 2021 February 26, 2021
February 2021 March 26, 2021
March 2021 April 30, 2021
April 2021 May 28, 2021
May 2021 June 25, 2021
June 2021 July 30, 2021
July 2021 August 27, 2021
August 2021 October 1, 2021
September 2021 October 29, 2021
October 2021 November 24, 2021
November 2021 December 23, 2021
Bureau of Economic Analysis
The BEA Advisory Committee advises the Director of BEA on matters related to the development and improvement of BEA’s national, regional, industry, and international economic accounts, especially in areas of new and rapidly growing economic activities arising from innovative and advancing technologies, and provides recommendations from the perspectives of the economics profession, business, and government.

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