Real Disposable Income Per Capita Flat in December

With the release of December's report on personal incomes and outlays, we can now take a closer look at "real" disposable personal income per capita. At two decimal places, the nominal 0.21% month-over-month change in disposable income comes to 0.04% when we adjust for inflation. The year-over-year metrics are 6.37% nominal and 3.68% real.

Disposable Income

Disposable income is the amount of personal income that remains after income taxes have been deducted. Real disposable income is the post tax and benefit income after an adjustment has been made for price changes. This economic indicator is monitored to see how consumers save, spend, and borrow.

Post-great recession, the trend was one of steady growth, but generally flattened out in late 2015 with increases in 2012 and 2013. As a result of COVID pandemic stimulus measures, major spikes can be seen in April 2020, January 2021 (a December 2020 payment), and March 2021.