Thursday, December 23, 2004

US personal savings rate triples in one month!

One of the regular commentors to the Globblog (OK, it's calmo) has been complaining recently that the General just doesn't have enough Christmas cheer this season. So to lay that rumor to rest right away, I've penned the above headline.

And it's true. The US Bureau of Economic Analysis released the November personal income figures today, and the data shows that last month Americans resisted spending a full 0.3% of their disposable personal income. In October the figure was 0.1%, so we're on our way up!

Another glimmer of good news from this report was that last month, personal income grew more than personal consumption, the first time that has happened since August.

But we would be neglectful if we didn't tell the rest of the story (sorry, calmo). In November, wages and salaries rose by their second smallest monthly amount all year ($12.2bn). While the personal savings rate did triple in November, it is still scraping the very bottom of the barrel. At $22.2bn, it's the fifth lowest nominal monthly dollar total and the third lowest real figure since monthly data began being reported in 1959.

For the first 11 months of 2004 the personal savings rate stands at 0.8%. It will take a December figure of around 2.0% -- and we all know that isn't going to happen -- to avoid the lowest US annual savings rate since 1933, the depth of the Great Depression.

But did I tell you that Christmas has been saved!?!


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