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Personal Income and Outlays, April 2021

Summary:
Personal income decreased .21 trillion (13.1 percent) in April according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (tables 3 and 5). Disposable personal income (DPI) decreased .22 trillion (14.6 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased .3 billion (0.5 percent). Real DPI decreased 15.1 percent in April and Real PCE decreased 0.1 percent; goods decreased 1.3 percent and services increased 0.6 percent (tables 5 and 7). The PCE price index increased 0.6 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.7 percent (table 9). COVID-19 Impact on April 2021 Personal Income and Outlays The estimate for April personal income and outlays was impacted by the continued government response to COVID-19. Economic impact payments

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Personal income decreased $3.21 trillion (13.1 percent) in April according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (tables 3 and 5). Disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $3.22 trillion (14.6 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $80.3 billion (0.5 percent).

Real DPI decreased 15.1 percent in April and Real PCE decreased 0.1 percent; goods decreased 1.3 percent and services increased 0.6 percent (tables 5 and 7). The PCE price index increased 0.6 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.7 percent (table 9).

COVID-19 Impact on April 2021 Personal Income and Outlays

The estimate for April personal income and outlays was impacted by the continued government response to COVID-19. Economic impact payments associated with the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (which was enacted on March 11, 2021) continued but were at a lower level than in March. 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.
  2020 2021
Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
Percent change from preceding month
Personal income:  
     Current dollars 0.7  10.2  -6.9 20.9 -13.1
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars 0.7  11.5  -7.8  23.4  -14.6 
     Chained (2012) dollars 0.3  11.2  -8.1  22.7  -15.1 
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE):  
     Current dollars -0.6  3.4  -1.0  4.7  0.5 
     Chained (2012) dollars -0.9  3.1  -1.3  4.1  -0.1 
Price indexes:  
     PCE 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.6 0.6
     PCE, excluding food and energy 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.7
Price indexes: Percent change from month one year ago
     PCE 1.2 1.4 1.6 2.4  3.6 
     PCE, excluding food and energy 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.9 3.1 

The decrease in personal income in April primarily reflected a decrease in government social benefits (table 3). Within government social benefits, "other" social benefits decreased as economic impact payments made to individuals from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 continued, but at a lower level than in March. Unemployment insurance also decreased, led by decreases in payments from the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

The $80.3 billion increase in current dollar PCE in April reflected an increase of $112.6 billion in spending for services that was partly offset by a $32.3 billion decrease in spending for goods (table 3). Within services, the largest contributors to the increase were spending for recreation services and for food services and accommodations. Within goods, a decrease in nondurable goods was partly offset by an increase in durable goods. Within nondurable goods, the decrease was widespread and led by food and beverages. Within durable goods, the increase was accounted for by an increase in motor vehicles and parts. Detailed information on monthly real PCE spending can be found on Table 2.3.5U.

Personal outlays increased $82.8 billion in April (table 3). Personal saving was $2.81 trillion in April and the personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 14.9 percent (table 1).

The PCE price index increased 3.6 percent in April from one year ago, reflecting increases in both goods and services (table 11). Energy prices increased 24.8 percent while food prices increased 0.9 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 3.1 percent in April from one year ago.

Annual Update of the National Economic Accounts

BEA will release results from the 2021 annual update of the National Economic Accounts, which includes the National Income and Product Accounts as well as the Industry Economic Accounts, later this year. Updated monthly personal income and outlays will be released on July 30, 2021, along with the June 2021 estimate. For details, see Information on the 2021 Annual Update of the National Economic Accounts..

Updates to Personal Income and Outlays

Estimates have been updated for October through March. For October through December, estimates for compensation, personal taxes, and contributions for government social insurance reflect the incorporation of the most recently available fourth-quarter wage and salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. 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
February March 
Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised Previous Revised
(Billions of dollars) (Percent) (Billions of dollars) (Percent)
Personal income:  
     Current dollars -1,503.3 -1,496.6 -7.0 -6.9 4,212.7 4,214.0 21.1 20.9
Disposable personal income:  
     Current dollars -1,519.9 -1513.9 -7.9 -7.8 4,181.4 4,183.6  23.6 23.4
     Chained (2012) dollars -1,389.0 -1389.6 -8.1 -8.1 3,610.8 3,602.2  23.0 22.7
Personal consumption expenditures:  
     Current dollars -150.8  -148.3 -1.0 -1.0 616.0 690.4 4.2 4.7 
     Chained (2012) dollars -165.1  -167.6 -1.2 -1.3 476.7  536.2 3.6 4.1

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Next release: June 25, 2021 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
Personal Income and Outlays, May 2021

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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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