New Federal Data Shows Increased Consumer Purchasing Power

Consumer Brands represents the great brands depended on by American households to sustain and support their daily lives. We focus a lot on affordability, access and ensuring consumers have uninterrupted access to the products that the makers of their everyday home, personal care, food and beverage items provide. At the same time, it’s also paramount to fact check the shifting conversation around pricing and affordability as it has quickly become a political talking point kicking off election season as a way for candidates to find a cause — and a villain.

But recent data from the Treasury Department proves these myths around a lack of consumer purchasing power are largely just that. New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found wages “rose briskly in the fourth quarter of last year: by 1.4 percent, or 5.6 percent at an annual rate.” Incorporating this new data from BLS with their own data to discern American households’ purchasing power, “we now find that as of the end of 2023, the median American worker could afford the same goods and services as they did 2019, with an additional $1,400 to spend or save per year,” the department stated, which outpaced its earlier projection that the annual spend or save among households would be around $1,000 more.

In fact, Consumer Brands’ economic data based on BLS’ December producer price index shows wages for food production workers were 5.2 percent above November 2022 wages year over year — ahead of the 4 percent bump for all U.S. employees over the same timeframe. As the largest domestic manufacturing sector by employment in the U.S., we’re proud to represent an industry that is setting a standard for wages across the country.

The new data from the Treasury further reinforces the myth of so-called “greedflation” — the false assumption that profits matter most. While disruptive to the misleading political rhetoric we’re seeing, the reality is that the consumer packaged goods sector would not jeopardize its relationship with consumers — which in many cases has spanned generations and reflects the trust and confidence consumers have in the products and brands we deliver.

Our focus is always on the consumer, being there for them when they need us and doing our part to not just reinforce but continue to grow their purchasing power, which is also why it remains as important as ever for us to secure critical and bipartisan legislation that supports resilient supply chains, ongoing funding to the WIC program and avoiding new tariffs that would unnecessarily burden consumers and domestic manufacturers.

My hope going forward is that we can have these essential conversations and continue to collaborate with policymakers who share our goal of identifying common-sense solutions that benefit American consumers and their families without unnecessary and arbitrary finger pointing. Efforts to displace blame only serve to take the focus off the consumer and undermine the fact that our success, ultimately, relies on theirs.