From The Big Picture:
From Harvard Business Review:
(Ratio of household debt to earnings.)
So the average American household OWES 20% of their assets, 28% of their net worth, and 130% of what they earn in an average year. That includes mortgages, student loans, auto loans, and credit card debt--everything.
This bubble--everything but mortgages-- actually has yet to pop, and when it does, all kinds of businesses will be affected, according to a great article by William Jarvis and Ian MacMillan in the HBR.
That's because most of the American economy depends on consumer spending. 68% of the entire economy, to be exact, up from 63% in the 1950s.
People are furiously trying to get out from under this debt. Savings rates have bounced from -0.5% to almost 6% in scarcely a year. Until they pay it off, the US economy can't recover. And after they pay it off, it's hard to see how we can go back to the spending rates the economy depended on before.