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5 Positive Economic Trends in a Negative Economy

Household debt is way down. ... The good news is that in the past three years, Americans have made remarkable progress cleaning up their balance sheets and paying down those debts. After peaking at nearly 98 percent of economic output at the start of 2009, the household debt was down to 83 percent of GDP in the spring of 2012. ...

Note: This level is still fairly high, but households have made progress. We will have more data next week when the NY Fed releases their Q3 Report on Household Debt and Credit.

The cost of servicing that debt is way, way down. ... In late 2007, debt service payments added up to a whopping 14 percent of disposable personal income. Now it’s down to 10.7 percent, about the same as in the early 1990s. ..

Note: Here is the data source: Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations Ratios.

Electricity and natural gas prices are falling. ... The retail price for consumers’ gas service piped into their homes is down 8.4 percent in the year ended in October. The lower wholesale price of natural gas is also pulling down electricity prices; they are off 1.2 percent over the past year. ...

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