Superstorm Sandy Walloped Wages in October

The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis today released statistics on personal income and expenditures for October, showing an economic landscape battered by the effects of Superstorm Sandy.

Sandy, which hit the U.S. on Oct. 29, caused extensive damage in parts of the Northeast, especially New Jersey and New York, though its effects were felt in 24 states. Calculated at an annualized rate, the storm caused a decline in wages and salaries of approximately $18 billion, according to the report.

Overall, personal income was unchanged from September, as was disposable personal income. Personal consumption expenditures fell by 0.2% from the month previous.

Wages and salaries took a hit. Private wage and salary disbursements dropped by $17.1 billion in October, compared to September's increase of $22.4 billion, which was attributed directly to Sandy. Government wage and salary disbursements increased by $0.1 billion in October, compared to a rise of $1.7 billion for September.

All other personal income categories decreased for October, such as supplements to wages and salaries, which grew by $1.6 billion, versus a rise of $4.6 billion for September, and proprietors' income, which dropped $2.1 billion, compared with September's increase of $11.6 billion.

The personal savings rate, as a percentage of disposable income, inched up a bit -- to 3.4% from 3.3% -- while purchases of durable goods decreased 1.7%, compared with September's 2.2% increase. Much of that drop was attributed to purchases of motor vehicles and parts for the month of October.

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