Unconventional Wisdom: Consumers Reduce Debt During Recession

The conventional wisdom has been that as the recession deepens and more people lose their jobs, they will rely more heavily on credit cards, etc to fund their expenses, consumer debt will rise, and banks will struggle with more and more debt that is less likely to be repaid.

Well, based on the graph below from the April 13th issue of Business Week, the consumer is de-leveraging, not borrowing more. This trend is also seen in the savings rate, which has spiked in recent months. As a result, consumers might be in better financial condition after the recession than before, ironically enough.