Economist: Increased savings rate will be source of economic strength during the recovery

Washington Research Council economist Kriss Sjoblom has updated with two new charts his series on income, spending and savings during the pandemic. In his update, he writes,

As a result of the $1.9 trillion federal relief package enacted in March, personal income rose 21.1% from February to March. Consumer spending increased by a more modest 4.2%, while the saving rate soared to 27.6%.

Here’s the savings chart.

That boost in the savings rate will pay dividends over time.

The saving rate jumped from 8.3% in February 2020 to an astounding 33.7% in April and then declined in steps to 12.5% in November. The saving rate moved up modestly in December, jumped to 20.0% in January, fell back to 13.9% in February and jumped to 27.6% in March. The total amount saved from April 2020 through March 2021 was $3.47 trillion. Had the saving rate been the average for 2019, 8.3%, the amount saved would have been just $1.35 trillion. Excess saving over the 12 months totaled $2.12 trillion. Spending down this pool (ocean?) of excess saving will be a source of strength for the economy as the pandemic recedes.

We encourage you to click through for the charts and additional analysis.