一个数字说明一切

纽黑文——0.2%。这就是过去14个季度(2008年第1季度到2011年第2季度)以来美国消费支出经通货膨胀调整的平均年化增长率。自二战结束以来,美国消费者还从未在如此长的时间里如此不给力。这个数字浓缩地表明了美国——以及全球经济——如今的问题所在。

这段前所未有的美国消费疲软期可以分为两个阶段。从2008年第1季度到2009年第2季度,消费者需求连续6个季度下降,年降幅为2.2%。毫不奇怪,这波下降在大危机顶峰时最为惨烈,2008年第3和第4季度,消费支出下降了4.5%。

2009年年中,美国经济触底,消费支出变化也进入了第二阶段——十分萎靡的复苏。此后8个季度(2009年第3季度到2011年第2季度),年化消费支出增长率平均为2.1%。这是有记录以来最疲软的消费复苏——比危机之前12年(1996—2007年)的趋势增长率(3.6%)低整整1.5个百分点。

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