Economy Watch: Real Income, Inflation Eke Out Gains in February

New Bureau of Economic Analysis data show a slight uptick in personal income and consumer spending last month.

Personal income increased $23.7 billion, or 0.2 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI)—income after taxes—increased by the same amount in February, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Monday. That compares with January, when personal income increased 0.5 percent and DPI increased 0.4 percent.

These numbers count as another middling indicator for the economy, and especially for retail sales numbers, which will be published in April. The BEA also reported that consumer spending edged up 0.1 percent after a downward revision to a 0.1 percent gain in January. Consumer spending was previously reported to have increased 0.5 percent in January.

Also last month, inflation moderated, with the BEA’s price index for consumer spending dropping 0.1 percent after eking out a 0.1 percent gain in January. In the 12 months through February, the PCE price index increased 1 percent after rising 1.2 percent in January.

Not counting food and energy, prices gained 0.1 percent after coming in 0.3 percent higher January. In the 12 months through February, the so-called core price index (no food or energy) increased 1.7 percent after a similar increase in January. Lately food has been rising somewhat, but energy prices are still moderating.