PRICES & SPENDING • Feb 2016 • Volume 5 / Number 1
In 2007, U.S. consumers spent more on cellular phone service than they did on residential landline phone services for the first time. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) show that expenditures on cellular phone services continue to rise rapidly.Read full article » | Download PDF
People who are neither working nor looking for work are counted as “not in the labor force,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 2000, the percentage of people in this group has increased. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and its Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) provide some insight into why people are not in the labor force. The ASEC is conducted in the months of February through April and includes questions about work and other activities in the previous calendar year. For example, data collected in 2015 are for the 2014 calendar year, and data collected in 2005 are for the 2004 calendar year. In the ASEC, people who did not work at all in the previous year are asked to give the main reason they did not work. Interviewers categorize survey participants’ verbatim responses into the following categories: ill health or disabled; retired; home responsibilities; going to school; could not find work; and other reasons.
This article uses 2013 CE data to examine the relationship between age and consumer expenditures. This relationship is important because the aging of the baby-boom generation will influence the overall level and composition of consumer spending in the years to come.
During the second half of 2014, a rapid decline in crude oil prices had consumers rejoicing at the gas pump. What they may not have realized though, is that gasoline stations also benefited from the decline in crude oil prices. During this period, the Producer Price Index (PPI) for automotive fuels and lubricants retailing showed a sharp rise in retail margins, peaking in December 2014. However, in early 2015, as crude oil prices stabilized at a new lower level, retail margins for gasoline declined.