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A deeply troubling look at consumer balances from Statista. Well, deeply troubling if you hope that the United States will avoid a recession. (Frankly, I’m in the “Hope we avoid but I’m afraid we won’t camp.”) In April, Americans saved just 4.4% of disposable personal income, according to data from the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis. That’s down from 12.6% in April 2021 and it’s the lowest rate since September 2008, when the country was in the middle of the Great Recession. has a great chart (at ) that shows the surge in savings during the early stages of the Pandemic when Americans put a good portion of their stimulus checks into savings and the collapse in savings now.

With workers losing ground to inflation, it follows that families are dipping into savings to pay for food, gasoline, and housing. But, obviously, this trend can’t go on forever–or even for very long.

And the conclusion I draw from this is that if the economy goes further into a slowdown, there’s very little cushion available to prevent the slowdown from turning into a recession. (The key numbers to watch over the next month are credit card balances and delinquencies. That is where I’d expect to see the next shoe drop.)