Monday, April 20, 2009

More on PCEs

Let's take a look at a new set of charts -- the year over year change (YOY) in PCEs and the three sub-categories of PCEs. Please click on all images for a larger image.

Let's start with the YOY of overall PCEs

Notice that the overall rate of YOY change in PCEs is the lowest it's been in almost 50 years. That alone should tell you something about the severity of the current situation. Let's look at the subcategories from the largest to smallest (services, non-durables and durables).

Real YOY service expenditures are nearing the lowest level they have seen in 50 years. But ...

It's the year over year drop in non-durables that's really hitting PCEs right now.

People have pulled back from goods that will last less than 3 years.

Durable goods year over year percentage change is low -- but we've seen these lows before. Not that it's a good thing, mind you, just that we've seen these levels before.

So -- what have we learned?

1.) People have really cut back on spending.

2.) The big area where they have cut back is non-durable goods.

When will the consumer come back? That's a good question. As I noted in today's market recap, consumers have lost over 20% of net worth since the 2Q of 2007. That's going to keep them in the wealth building as opposed to spending more for some time.