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Dec 10 -- At today's FESAC meeting, BLS indicated it is in the early stages of developing a measure of household-level consumption. The Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) measure spending. Spending and consumption differ because of home production, in-kind benefits, prolonged use of durable goods, and the like. The new measure will use new accounting methods and administrative data, the CE, and other household surveys (such as the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement and the American Time Use Survey) to produce a comprehensive consumption  measure. It should assist data users studying poverty, inequality, and overall economic well-being at the household level. A consumption measure more directly reflects consumers’ actual levels of living, as opposed to income measures that reflect what could potentially be used to purchase goods and services to meet their needs. It will complement existing statistics, such as those such as those on healthcare access, food security, health status,  and educational  attainment.   
 
BLS presentation: https://apps.bea.gov/fesac/meetings/2021-12-10/Consumption-Measure-Garner-Safir.pdf
 
Feedback invited on questions:  
  
Do you agree with the proposed BLS consumption framework?  
What about the treatment of health and education: consumption or investment?  
Should we consider calibrating consumption estimates to PCE aggregates?  
What are  your suggestions for identifying and valuing in-kind transfers of goods and services?  
Is it desirable to consider how consumption is “funded”?  
 • Current income and in-kind benefits  
 • Withdrawals from assets  
 • Use of debt  
What is the role of subjective assessments in the determination of inputs and outcomes?  
 • Difficulty meeting financial obligations (e.g., rent payments) and/or consumption needs of family  
 • Food security, happiness,  etc.  
  
Point of contact: Thesia I. Garner, Chief Researcher for Prices and Living Conditions  Garner.thesia@BLS.gov

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