Notwithstanding government life-support initiatives, US consumers seem headed for years of retrenchment. Consumption’s share of US GDP currently stands at a sharply elevated 70%. While that’s down from the high of 71.3% in early 2009, it remains fully four percentage points above the 66% norm that prevailed in the final quarter of the twentieth century.
Reversion to that earlier share is likely as American consumers make the transition from the insanity of the boom to the sanity required of the bust. That spells subdued growth in US consumption for years to come – with a predictably massive impact on global consumption. While the US accounts for only 4.5% of the world’s population, its consumers spend $10.3 trillion annually – by far the most in the world.