American wages fall
According to bonddad from dailykos (and this is worth quoting in full):
After inflation wage growth is still negative. Non-supervisory wages rose from $15.90/hour in January to $16.32/hour in November, for an annual increase of 2.64%. Over the same period the overall inflation gage has increased from 190.7 to 197.6, or a 3.61% increase. In other words, after inflation non-supervisory wages dropped .97% this year.
To make-up for this shortcoming in wages growth, consumers have taken-advantage of record low interest rates. Total consumer debt increased 9.1%, 11.1% and 11.6% in the first second and third quarter respectively. Total consumer borrowing over the first three quarters of 2005 was 929 billion, 1.158 trillion and 1.235 trillion, respectively. Total consumer debt outstanding increased from 10.4 trillion to 11 trillion from the first to third quarter of 2005. Total consumer debt outstanding now stands are 87% of US GDP.
Personal savings (gross income less all monthly expenditures) dropped from 47 billion to -132 billion from the first to third quarter of 2005. Unfortunately, there are no figures for contributions to various retirement plans for 2005 yet. However, over the last 5 years, the highest contribution level of all plans (defined contribution, defined benefit and IRA's) was 2.2% of GDP. This low figure combined with the record low economic savings figure of 3Q 2005 indicates that personal retirement savings was probably abysmal this year (again).