Friday, January 13, 2012
The above chart shows the percentage contribution that personal consumption expenditures (PCEs) made to GDP in 1952, along with the contribution of the subparts of the PCE statistic. The second and fourth quarter were the big months for PCEs, with the second quarter's growth being drive by non-durable goods while the fourth quarter's growth was driven by durable goods purchases. The first quarters contributions were incredibly weak, with an actual contraction in non-durables being the reason for the contraction. Also note the drop in durable purchases in the third quarter.
The reason for the large drop in durable goods purchases in the third quarter was a large steel strike, which shutdown auto manufacturing. With the strike ended in the fourth quarter, auto production ramped back up, leading to higher production and, therefore, more durable goods.
Regarding the expansion and increased use of consumer debt, consider the following from the 1953 economic report to the president: