U.S. Consumer Spending & Inflation Report: March 2023

Report summary

Spending growth softened in February, showing signs of easing momentum compared with the first month of the year. Following recent improvement in incomes and savings, household finances look to be facing tightening pressures: Consumers are taking on more credit debt and reporting greater difficulty saving as wage growth cools and inflation looks sticker.

Key Takeaways

  • Spending growth slowed in February, with retail sales declining from their January jump.
  • Household finances have solidified in recent months as rising incomes eased pressure on budgets, but recent improvements are already showing signs of fading as consumers report rising debt balances.
  • Although certain price pressures may continue to ease, inflation appears to be settling in at an unsustainably high level.

About the authors

A headshot photograph of Kayla Bruun
Kayla Bruun
Senior Economist

Kayla Bruun is a senior economist at decision intelligence company Morning Consult, where she analyzes consumer spending, inflation and household finance trends, leveraging the company’s proprietary high-frequency data.

Prior to joining Morning Consult, Kayla was a key member of the corporate strategy team at telecommunications company SES, where she produced market intelligence and industry analysis of mobility markets. 

Kayla also served as an economist at IHS Markit, where she covered global services industries, provided price forecasts, produced written analyses and served as a subject-matter expert on client-facing consulting projects. 

Kayla earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University and an MBA with a certificate in nonmarket strategy from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

Follow her on Twitter @KaylaBruun. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected]

A headshot photograph of Sofia Baig
Sofia Baig

Sofia Baig is an economist at decision intelligence company Morning Consult, where she works on descriptive and predictive analysis that leverages Morning Consult’s proprietary high-frequency data. Previously, she worked for the Federal Reserve Board as a quantitative analyst, focusing on topics related to monetary policy and bank stress testing. She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Pomona College and a master’s degree in mathematics and statistics from Georgetown University.

Follow her on Twitter @_SofiaBaig_For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected]