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Personal Income and Outlays

The monthly Personal Income and Outlays report is produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and contains great detail on income related measures as well as spending data for almost every imaginable good and service. The Personal Income and Outlays report is released about four weeks after the record month, on the first business day following the release of the Gross Domestic Product report at 8:30am ET. It is available on the BEA’s website .

The BEA uses the spending data in the report in compiling the consumption expenditures portion of the GDP report. Consumer spending accounts for approximately 70 percent of all economic activity in the U.S. Strong spending is touted as a sign of an expansionary climate; slower spending signals softer economic conditions and income data is thought to provide insight into future spending and thus future economic activity.

The BEA calculates personal income by adding together income from seven major sources and then subtracting personal contributions for unemployment, disability, hospital, and old age survivors insurance. Then, by subtracting personal tax and nontax payments such as donations, fees, and fines they arrive at disposable personal income. This is thought to be more useful than personal income because it represents the money that households have available to spend or to save.

Personal consumption expenditures is defined as the goods and services individuals buy, the operating expenses of non-profit institutions serving individuals, and the value of food, fuel, clothing, rentals and financial services that individuals receive in kind.