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The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index slid again in December, following November's decrease after a year of steady gains. The Index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.
The Index, which comprises four components - tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices - fell this month to 3.81 from a reading of 3.96 the previous month.
Highlights of the Index include:
- Tax Burden: The tax burden was at 11.03 percent in the most recent month. A falling tax burden can be a sign of weaker growth in taxable incomes.
- Initial Unemployment Claims: Jobless claims moved much higher this month to 405,750 from 367,250 the previous month, primarily due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
- Real Wages: Real wages continue to fall from a year ago and are down 0.3 percent, although the pace of decline has moderated as gasoline prices fell sharply in November.
- Real Home Prices: The housing market continues to improve, pushing housing prices up nearly 13 percent higher compared to a year ago.