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Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 13:30 GMT Mar 29
--Personal Income Up 0.4%; PCE Up 0.2%; Core PCE Prices +0.2% M/M
--Initial Jobless Claims Fall To 215,000; Annual Revisions Included
By Kevin Kastner, Sara Haire, and Holly Stokes
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - Personal income rose 0.4% in February, while 
nominal PCE was up 0.2% and the core PCE price index rose 0.2% in the 
month and 1.6% year/year, all as expected, data released by the Bureau 
of Economic Analysis Thursday morning showed. 
     The core price index's 1.6% year/year rise in February was an 
uptick from the 1.5% rates posted in the previous four months, but was 
still significantly below the 12-month rates seen in early 2017 and the 
Fed's 2.0% target. The current month's rate is the highest since April.
     Personal income was supported by another solid gain in wages and 
salaries, as well as proprietors' income and rental income, and a small 
gain in income on assets.
     The saving rate rose to 3.4% in February from 3.2% in January and 
2.4% in December, but the rate was still weak compared to a year 
earlier. Some analysts have suggest that the plunge in the savings rate 
over the last year, from a 2017 high of 4.1% in February of that year, 
has supported consumption. 
     Consumers, confident about the economy and job prospects, have 
shifted their priorities from saving to spending. However, an MNI 
analysis Wednesday suggested that much of that new spending is coming 
via credit cards rather than excess cash. 
     Disposable personal income rose 0.4% in the month. Personal taxes 
rose by 0.7% in the month after plunging by 3.2% in January. With the 
new tax law enacted, further declines in taxes are possible. Disposable 
income rose by 0.4%, same as pre-tax income, while real disposable 
income was up 0.2%. 
     The 0.2% gain in current dollar PCE continues the string of gains. 
Spending on durable goods rose 0.2% in the month, but nondurable goods 
spending fell 0.2% on a 0.1% decline in energy prices. Services spending 
was up 0.3%.   
     Real PCE were flat in February, as the overall PCE price index 
rose 0.2% despite the energy price decline. The overall price index was 
up 1.8% year/year, modestly higher than the 1.7% gains in the previous 
three months.
     After inflation adjustment, durable goods PCE was up 0.6%, compared 
with the 0.2% nominal gain. Nondurable goods PCE was down 0.3% compared 
with the 0.2% nominal decline. Real services PCE was flat compared with 
the 0.3% nominal gain. 
     The average real PCE level in the first quarter was up only 0.6% at 
an annual rate from the fourth quarter average. PCE was up 4.0% in the 
fourth quarter GDP report. 
     Also released on Thursday, initial jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 
215,000 in the March 24 week, well below the 230,000 level expected 
and the lowest level since the January 27, 1973 week. 
     Annual revision were included with the data. While making little 
change to the recent pattern, the revisions did bump up the recent low 
210,000 level in the February 24 week to 217,000.
     The four-week moving average fell by 500 to 224,500, as that 
217,000 level in February 24 week dropped out of the equation. The 
average could decline further next week if there is no change to the 
headline number as the 330,000 level in the March 3 week drops out. 
     Continuing claims rose by 35,000 to 1.871 million in the March 17 
employment survey week, but was down 51,000 from the 1.922 million level 
in the March 13 employment survey week. The data still suggest that 
labor markets remain tight and that workers are finding jobs fairly 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 

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