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The vanishing negative saving rate


One data series that’s been subject to frequent revision, and in the past frequent inclusion in the news, is the personal saving rate. In October 2007, our Liber8 publication (a newsletter for librarians) included an explanation of the negative U.S. saving rate.* To make a long story short, that article and others from that time noted that it generally isn’t wise to spend more than your income. However, if you look at the current saving rate, you see the graph never goes below zero. It even seems to stay above 2%. What’s up with that? Well, revisions to the data.

Below is a graph of changes in the data, comparing the current data with the data available in September 2007.

How this graph was created: Personal saving rate data were most recently released on March 28, 2014. To see previous releases, select the ALFRED link, which is to the left of the graph. Edit data series 1 by changing the “as-of date” to August 31, 2007. Then change the graph from a bar graph to a line graph.

Suggested by Katrina Stierholz

* In our defense, there were other Fed publications that wrote about the negative saving rate as well.

View on FRED, series used in this post: PSAVERT


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