Where exactly are we getting the money to spend? US Savings Rate, Disposable Incomes & Consumer Credit

Posted on December 14, 2011


Retail sales are up for the sixth straight month.  But…

1. The average American lost $21,000 in net worth in Q3, 2011 according to the December 8, 2011 Federal Reserve Flow of Funds release.

2. Personal savings rates are on a marked decline after a predictable spike during the recession:

3. Disposable income is back to long term historical levels:

4. Consumer credit is on the rise (Federal Reserve December 2011).  From the report:

Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 3-3/4 percent in October. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 1/2 percent,
and nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 5-1/4 percent.

5. Banks aren’t lending.

Seriously.  I’m confused.  I’d really like to know where we’re getting the money to spend this Christmas.