1953 is a year with two sub-parts. The first two quarters we see decent growth. In the first quarter, the growth is pretty even, spread among durable, non-durable and service purchases. In the second quarter, we see a slight drop in durable good purchases. In the third quarter, non-durable goods purchases subtracted sharply from growth, while durable goods and lack of service purchases were the reason for the drop in the fourth quarter.
The above chart is fascinating, as it puts PCEs in perspective for the early 1950s expansion. Overall durable goods purchases remained fairly constant, coming in between $25 and $30 billion. However, service purchases continued to increase, moving up constantly for the entire expansion. Non-durables topped-off in 1953 and moved slightly lower in 3Q53 and 4Q53.
The above chart chart places the preceding observation into more detail. This expansion was about autos and homes, as evidenced by the purchases of autos and furniture. Also note how housing services continued to rise. Finally, food purchases saw strong gains, probably because we were still dealing with a culture that was getting away from war rationing.
The above chart of various consumer goods outputs really highlights the extent of the growth in consumer spending. In 1950, we made 3 million TVs. That number nearly doubled by 1953. Air conditioner output increased by a factor of 10! Clothes dryer output doubled.
This was the consumer on steroids.