The annual savings rate dropped to the lowest level in 74 years, the Commerce Department has reported. On average, Americans saved a “negative 1 percent” in 2006, meaning people not only didn’t save but dipped into their savings and borrowed in order to spend more than their income.
AP via Houston Chronicle:
People once again spent everything they made and then some last year, pushing the personal savings rate to the lowest level since the Great Depression more than seven decades ago.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the savings rate for all of 2006 was a negative 1 percent, meaning that not only did people spend all the money they earned but they also dipped into savings or increased borrowing to finance purchases. The 2006 figure was lower than a negative 0.4 percent in 2005 and was the poorest showing since a negative 1.5 percent savings rate in 1933 during the Depression.
For December, consumer spending rose a solid 0.7 percent, the best showing in five months, while incomes rose by 0.5 percent, both figures matching Wall Street expectations.
In other news, a key gauge of factory activity flashed recession warnings in manufacturing in January.