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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Spending Outlook Improves According To RBC
by Tom Moeller May 21, 2010

The outlook for U.S. consumer spending remains firm. That should be the conclusion after looking at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) CASH Index. It monitors several aspects of the consumer environment and rose early this month to 72.7 from 64.6 in April. It was up by more than two-thirds from last May.

Deterioration this month in the subcategories accompanied the overall index improvement. Nevertheless, each remained solid versus last year and portends continued improvement in consumer spending. Since inception in 2002, the CASH index has an 85% correlation with the y/y change in real personal consumption expenditures. The jobs index has a similar correlation with the change in payroll employment.

The RBC U.S. CASH (Consumer Attitudes & Spending by Households) index is based on data collected from interviews with a sample of 1,008 U.S. adults conducted over a five-day polling period during the first week of each month by Ipsos, a market and opinion research firm.

The RBC Financial Group figures can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database.The latest report from RBC can be found here.

RBC Consumer Attitudes & Spending by Households Survey (CASH) May April March May '09 2009 2008 2007
Nat'l RBC Index 72.7 64.6 58.2 43.0 30.0 36.1 82.6
  Current Conditions Index 63.6 66.5 56.7 45.0 28.2 46.0 99.4
  Expectations Index 74.2 78.0 57.3 34.0 19.5 -12.4 34.3
  Jobs Index 74.2 74.9 68.2 54.4 50.9 88.7 122.2
  Investment Index 73.8 75.3 65.1 49.6 37.2 51.1 91.1
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