April 18, 2019 - Fears of an economic downturn weighed on consumer confidence and spending in the first quarter of 2019, according to Visa’s Chief Economist, Wayne Best. Retail sales excluding autos rebounded sharply in March, rising 3.6 percent after slowing in both January and February. The fact that the first quarter ended on a positive note is promising for second quarter consumer spending. Wage growth, lower interest rates and modest inflation are helping to support consumer spending, but watch out for rising gasoline prices.
Consumer spending shows signs of strengthening
Visa’s monthly report on the consumer economic landscape from Chief Economist Wayne Best and U.S. Principal Economist Michael Brown.
Other highlights of this report:
- After decelerating for several months, consumer prices have turned higher, led by the recent rise in gasoline prices
- Fears of an economic slowdown began to emerge after a disappointing February employment report. Those fears have largely been put to rest with a rebound in hiring activity in March
- Income growth implies momentum behind Q2 consumer spending
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