" With unemployment at 3.5%, the household savings rate ticking up to 8%, the aggregate debt-to-income ratio hovering around 40-year lows and consumer delinquencies at or near post-crisis lows, policy-makers' comfort with the strength of the US consumer seems well grounded. As our US economics team has shown, Fed easing has lent support to consumer spending and home buying while sparking a mortgage refinancing wave that should add to disposable income over time. Annualized real consumer spending growth is tracking at 2.9% in 3Q19, and residential investment has turned upward after six straight quarters of declines.
So focusing on aggregate metrics, the strength in the US consumer seems patently obvious. But could this top-down analysis be overlooking potential sources of weakness? Since the household experience is quite different across income groups, we take a bottom-up approach to see where cracks may be appearing.