Tags: spending | 4-year | high | Gallup

Gallup Poll: Holiday-Period Spending Hits 4-Year High

By Dan Weil   |   Friday, 04 Jan 2013 10:22 AM

Americans shelled out more for their retail spending in December — $83 per day — than in any month in the prior four years, according to a new Gallup poll.

The December figure represents a 14 percent increase from $73 per day in November and tops the $89 level of December 2008.

The $83 per day for December represents the first reading above $80 since the Great Recession ended in June 2009. The numbers have exhibited a gradual upswing since January 2009.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

The spending venues include stores, the Internet, and restaurants. Household bills and home and car purchases are excluded.

In a departure from the usual trend, spending rose both for wealthy households — those with annual income exceeding $90,000 — and lower-income households. Usually, the less wealthy show stable levels of spending.

But in December, both income groups registered four-year highs. The wealthy spent $155 a day, while lower-income households shelled out $67.

So what does this mean?

“The increase in Americans' reported spending is clearly a positive sign for the U.S. economy, which is heavily dependent on consumer spending to drive economic growth,” Gallup states. Consumer accounts for about 70 percent of gross domestic product.

It’s unclear whether spending will continue to increase in 2013.

“Most Americans are seeing a decrease in take-home pay with the expiration of the Social Security payroll tax holiday,” the report notes. But on the plus side, income tax rates won’t rise for most Americans.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

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