Le cauchemar sans fin des consommateurs américains

NEW HAVEN – Les conseillers en communication travaillent dur pour présenter sous un jour favorable le redémarrage économique difficile de l'Amérique. Tous les yeux sont rivés sur la consommation des ménages. Du fait de la baisse du chômage, de la hausse de l'immobilier résidentiel et des sommets atteints par la Bourse, les prévisionnistes, les acteurs du marché et les responsables politiques nous disent que la consommation est enfin relancée.

N'en croyez rien ! Considérons la réalité : aux USA depuis début 2008, la consommation des ménages (ajustée en fonction de l'inflation) a augmenté seulement de 0,9% par an en moyenne. Pour les USA, c'est de loin la plus longue période de faible demande depuis la fin de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale - et un ralentissement massif par rapport au rythme de croissance de la consommation d'avant-crise (3,6% en moyenne entre 1996 et 2007).

La consommation des ménages représentant 70% de l'économie américaine, cet écart de 2,7 points de pourcentage entre la tendance précédant et celle suivant la crise a été suffisant pour provoquer une chute de 1,9 points de pourcentage du taux de croissance du PIB en terme réel. Inutile de chercher ailleurs la cause du chômage qui atteint un niveau inacceptable.

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