1) Below we have percentage-points-change in personal consumption as a share of GDP (via Matthew Yglesias). It shows that the largest increase in “personal consumption as a share of GDP” came in the 1980’s. In the 2000’s, consumption as a share of GDP didn’t increase much, it actually remained steady.
In 2007 the average consumer unit had $63,000 in income of which $987 was spent on “Audio and visual equipment and services.” In 2000, that was $44,649 (these are nominal dollars) and $622—the share is flat
2) Another chart (via modelled behaviour), shows that Americans actually spend less than ever on retail, relative to their income, going back to 1959. Even during the booming 90’s, retail spending as a percentage of income was far less than back in the 1960’s.
3) Yet here’s a healthcare twist (via modelled behaviour). Despite chart #2 above, Personal expenditures have risen as a % of GDP (at the fastest pace in the 1980’s, as explained by chart #1). Now if the increase shown below wasn’t spent on more retail, then what was it spent on?
The Economist: Health care explains much of the rise in consumption, but none of its subsequent decline. Real personal consumption on health services has risen 3.9% since the recession began in the fourth quarter of 2007.
We can replace the shopping-bag-burdened American stereotype with that of a more sober hospital-bound one.
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