The US economy continued its robust growth pace in the third quarter of the current year. Government statistics showed annualized growth of 1.9 percent for the period from early July to late September. This is a much smaller slowdown than analysts had previously expected. They had predicted an increase of only 1.6 percent.
In the previous quarter, American statisticians still posted annualized growth of 2 percent, and even gained 3.1 percent in the first three months of the year. The United States thus has a better economy than the European industrialized countries.
Government statistics showed annualized growth of 1.9 percent for the period from early July to late September
The domestic upswing continues to be supported by the consumerism of American consumers, with many in debt. They increased spending by 2.9 percent, while corporate investment continued to decline (down 1.3 percent). The investment incentives set by the major tax reform have probably evaporated.
The US labor market thus becomes the key factor: the historically low unemployment rate of 3.5 and the fact that the official statistics still show more vacancies than job seekers, however, keep the consumer mood high, without, incidentally, the propensity to save suffers. Real disposable income increased 2.9 percent over the period.
Americans’ propensity to buy a new car within the next six months has dropped significantly this year
However, initial warning signs are blinking: Americans’ propensity to buy a new car within the next six months has dropped significantly this year. Of the respondents to the market research organization Conference Board only three percent reported corresponding purchase plans. A few months ago that was still five percent.
At the beginning of the year more than 80 percent thought that it was a good time for big purchases, now only 70 percent believe it.
US consumers are still stimulating the economy. But bankruptcies are on the rise – and that’s not the only warning signal
The market researchers also register a steadily growing number of consumer bankruptcies over the past two years. Number of people who have taken on their consumer loans is just under two percent. This is still low by historical standards, but the increase in the number is remarkable: two years ago, it was still around 1.4%.
In the past, the rise in consumer bankruptcy has always been a harbinger of rising unemployment. Inflation, adjusted for food and energy prices, edged up 2.2 percent from 1.9 percent in the previous quarter.