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Have US Households Depleted All the Excess Savings They Accumulated during the Pandemic?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, US households accumulated a historically high volume of personal savings. As the crisis waned, personal savings started to decline. Economists disagree on whether households have drained their excess savings, and they disagree on which income group is more likely to have done so. The lack of consensus stems from different assumptions about today’s long-term saving rate, which is used as a benchmark to define excess savings. If households need to set aside a higher share of their income now relative to before the pandemic, then pandemic-era excess savings have ...
Spending Down Pandemic Savings Is an “Only-in-the-U.S.” Phenomenon
Household saving soared in the United States and other high-income economies during the pandemic, as consumers cut back on spending while government policies supported incomes. More recently, saving behavior has diverged, with the U.S. saving rate dropping below its pre-pandemic average while saving rates elsewhere have remained above their pre-pandemic averages. As a result, U.S. consumers have been spending down the “excess savings” built up during the pandemic while the excess savings abroad remain untapped. This divergent behavior helps explain why U.S. GDP has returned to its ...
Is Inflation on the Way Out or Here to Stay?
An analysis suggests certain economic factors, such as excess savings, and stubborn price increases in services are risks that might delay or potentially reverse the decline in overall inflation.
Stimulus, Savings, and Inflation: The Top Five Liberty Street Economics Posts of 2021
New York Fed researchers tackled a wide array of topics on Liberty Street Economics (LSE) over the past year, with the myriad effects of the pandemic—on supply chains, the banking system, and inequality, for example—remaining a major area of focus. Judging by the list below, LSE readers were particularly interested in understanding what comes next: the most-viewed posts of the year analyze households’ use of stimulus payments, the implications of lockdown-period savings, the risk of a new housing bubble, the compression of the breakeven inflation curve, and the potential roles that ...
An Update on the Health of the U.S. Consumer
The strength of consumer spending so far this year has surprised most private forecasters. In this post, we examine the factors behind this strength and the implications for consumption in the coming quarters. First, we revisit the measurement of “excess savings” that households have accumulated since 2020, finding that the estimates of remaining excess savings are very sensitive to assumptions about measurement, estimation period, and trend type, which renders them less useful. We thus broaden the discussion to other aspects of the household balance sheet. Using data from the New York ...
The Rise and Fall of Pandemic Excess Savings
U.S. households built up savings at unprecedented rates following the strong fiscal response and lower consumer spending related to the pandemic. Despite recent rapid drawdowns of those funds, estimates suggest a substantial stock of excess savings remains in the aggregate economy. Since 2020, households across all income levels have held a historically large share of savings in cash or other easily accessible forms. Estimates suggest that those funds could be available to support personal spending at least into the fourth quarter of 2023.
Where Might Inflation Head?
Excess savings created from past federal aid indicate consumption will likely remain high. This suggests inflationary pressures may persist despite the Fed’s tightening.