Marquette Asset Management’s John Beuerlein presented an economic overview to a group of NorthMarq employees this morning. He mentioned that first-quarter consumer spending came largely from personal savings and government transfers. I agree with his statement that although we’ve been hearing a lot about consumer spending being on the rise lately, that doesn’t necessarily mean the U.S. economy is in a strong recovery.
Sustainable consumer spending will come from real gains in employment (as opposed to seasonal or temporary employment) coupled with more liquidity in consumer and business credit. What this means for those of us in the retail real estate business is tenant sales are likely to look good compared to the first quarter of 2009; however, we can expect minimal real growth until the labor markets show real improvement.