Consumer Spending

Yesterday I touched on the fact that oil prices are half of what they were a year ago, and look to be rebounding.  A study published by JP Morgan Chase today shows that consumers are spending eight percent more money now than they were when gas prices were higher.  The research comes from studying 25 million Chase credit and debit card users’ transactions over the last few years.  The study shows that 10% of the extra discretionary spending is spent on groceries, 18% at restaurants, 23% on retail purchases, and 32% going to other services.  I would hope that those “other services” include mortgage lending, but I don’t charge the borrower for my services 80% of the time (being compensated from the loan servicer or having the seller cover costs in most transactions).  It would appear that consumers are expected to spend all of this extra money on themselves; the National Retail Federation forecasts that holiday spending will decline 10% this season.