Americans' daily self-reports of spending climbed to an average of $101 in February. This is the highest average for the month of February since 2008, when spending averaged $106. The latest monthly average is up $13 from January's figure, but still lower than December's holiday-influenced $105.
It took eight years for Americans' spending to return to this pre-crisis level, as consumers' "new normal" aversion to spending took hold after the recession and ensuing periods of high unemployment. Their hesitancy began to ease in recent years, and average daily spending once again reached the $100 mark in July 2016. Spending rose to a nine-year high in December and returned to a triple-digit average again in February after a predictable seasonal drop in January. The January-to-February increase in 2017 is larger than usual, with this year's $13 bump outpacing the previous record $9 increases in 2008 and 2014.
Since 2008, Americans' spending in the month of February has generally been similar to their January spending, though it is common to see a slight increase in February after January's seasonal, post-holiday drop. The increase in spending was slight -- to $73 from $70 in January -- among Americans living in households that earn less than $90,000 annually. Consumers in households earning $90,000 or more annually spent significantly more in February than in January -- $168 versus $142. This $26 month-to-month increase is one of the largest for this group in its nine years of tracking.