Consumer Checkpoint: Not falling in the Fall

Consumer spending remains supported by a resilient labor market, but slowing wage growth and rising childcare payments pose risks.

Headshot of David Tinsley

David Tinsley

Headshot of Anna Zhou

Anna Zhou

Headshot of Taylor Bowley

Taylor Bowley

Headshot of Liz Everett Krisberg

Liz Everett Krisberg

October 2023

Key takeaways

  • Consumer spending has been fairly flat over the last two months. Seasonally adjusted total card spending rose 0.2% month-over-month, reversing the 0.2% decline in August. Total card spending per household was up 0.7% year-over-year in September, compared to 0.4% in August, according to Bank of America internal data.
  • The labor market is key for the consumer. While there has been a relative deterioration in labor conditions at the higher end of the market, most of that underperformance may now be in the past. However, the wages and salaries of higher-income households are still growing at slower rates than other income cohorts.
  • One positive in recent labor market data has been that of rising prime-age female participation. That said, Bank of America data shows childcare payments in September are up 32% from 2019 average levels, which may pose some risks to this trend.

Read our full analysis for a more in-depth look at these trends.

Consumer Checkpoint is a regular publication from Bank of America Institute. It aims to provide a holistic and real-time estimate of U.S. consumers’ spending and their financial well-being, leveraging the depth and breadth of Bank of America proprietary data. Any such Bank of America proprietary data is not intended to be reflective or indicative of, and should not be relied upon as, the results of operations, financial conditions or performance of Bank of America.