By David Benoit

 

Spending on JPMorgan Chase & Co. credit cards plunged 40% for the average U.S. family at the start of the coronavirus slowdown, an "enormous" drop that sheds new light on how ugly consumer spending will be for the economy.

In particular, consumers cut non-essential spending in half, including a 70% decline in restaurant spending, according to the report from the bank's internal think tank. The declines were seen across income levels and employment situations, and actually larger for higher-income households.

"The magnitude of the spending drop is enormous," the report from the JPMorgan Chase Institute said.

The group said spending held mostly stable through half of March before falling dramatically when governments began issuing stay-at-home orders. It appeared to stabilize at the low levels in the middle of April.

The average spending per household was down $300 in early April from the year before.

The data may be brighter than the broader economy. While the study included 8 million households of active card users, JPMorgan card holders skew more affluent than the broader population.

 

Write to David Benoit at david.benoit@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 14, 2020 12:45 ET (16:45 GMT)

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