With Americans taking care of their health, can the Fed relax?

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In the first quarter, Americans allocated over half of the increase in consumption spending to healthcare, which represents an increase of 10% on an annualized basis compared with previous quarter. Without this acceleration, real household consumption would not have increased 3%, as published the day before yesterday, but rather a mere 1.3%; GDP would not have flat-lined but fallen 1.0%, all other variables held constant.

A detailed analysis of these numbers undoubtedly curbs the newfound optimism resulting from the announcement of a 4.6% increase in spending on services in the first quarter and the publication of an encouraging April jobs report. The Fed is not likely to be able to ignore this news.