U.S. Outlook: The state of household finances today

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

The popular narrative is that households have done a good job of repairing their balance sheets since the Great Recession by paying down debt during the current economic expansion.

view from above as older couple looks at a laptop together while going through financial paperwork.But is that really true?

For more on this, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on June 22.

Key observations:
  • According to a Federal Reserve report, nominal household debt hit a record high $15.3 trillion in the first quarter of 2018.
  • This additional debt has helped support the second longest economic expansion in history.
  • Household debt as a share of disposable income has mostly been declining since hitting a high of 133.7% since the fourth quarter of 2007.
  • Household debt levels remain quite different by state.


Read my full report.



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