NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Consumer Update”


Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at a consumer update.   Mike, consumers are key to the economy, with consumer spending accounting for 70% of all spending in the country.  Give us a financial status report on how consumers are looking.

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. Lets’ look at three factors – jobs, income, and debt
  2. Job market continues to improve, albeit slowly – unemployment rate is just about back where it was pre-recession
  3. After several years in which worker pay did not exceed inflation – in the last two years it has – so workers are beginning to see their standard of living rise
  4. And while consumer debt outside of mortgages has risen to new highs, low interest rates make the carrying costs cheaper
  5. Also, delinquency rates on debt payments is well below levels both during the recession and prior to the recession
  6. So consumer finances look fairly decent
  7. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for N C State Extension