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A Critical Look at the U.S. Economy
The stock market has been soaring, unemployment is low, and there is some improvement in wages and corporate earnings, though significantly less than from other recession recoveries. But there are other issues here that should be of concern. First of all, it should be noted that stocks are at lofty levels that marked the tops of major bull markets preceding the Great Recession, the “dot.com” (tech stock) bubble in 2000, and the crash of 1929. In the third quarter of 2008, U.S. household debt peaked at $12.7 trillion; today it is $13.3 trillion, 20 percent higher than five years ago. Since 2008, Student debt has more than doubled, to $1.5 trillion. Delinquent auto loans have risen 53 percent, to $1.2 trillion, with 6.3 million borrowers being 90 days or more late on auto loan payments. These delinquencies have been increasing steadily since 2011 and are now the highest in 15 years.
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