Submitted by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog, That title may be a bit much, granted, because never is a very long time. I might instead have said “The American Consumer Won’t Be Back For A Very Long Time”. Still, I simply don’t see any time in the future that would see Americans start spending again at a rate anywhere near what would be required for an economic recovery. Looks pretty infinity and beyond to me.
The American consumer has been cited as a source of strength in what's been a slowing global economy. However, Roger Hochschild, President and COO of credit card giant Discover, doesn't quite see it that way.
The big economic news was yesterday's blazing hot retail sales number for February. It crushed expectations, and shook off any suggestion that the end of the Payroll Tax Holiday was hurting the recovery.
Some economists argue that America's economic outlook is not great, in light of weak growth abroad and weak US demographics. A notable example of this pessimistic outlook is Larry Summer's secular stagnation hypothesis.
However, Deutsche Bank's Torsten Sløk remains optimistic.
U.S. economic data has been coming in increasingly positive. Everything came to a crescendo on Friday when we learned that American companies added 236k jobs in February. This helped bring the unemployment rate down to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent.
The U.S. and Russia have reached a deal to hand over Assad's chemical weapons stockpiles to the international community for their removal and destruction. This move allows the U.S. to save face, and it has at least temporarily postponed a U.S. military attack on Syria. But the Syria problem is obviously far from solved.
We knew it was bad. But this bad? The typical American is saving nothing, a new analysis of government data shows. Perhaps most unsettling: this zero savings rate seems largely a spending problem—not one of too little income or unexpected hardship.