When it comes to the spectator sport known as the U.S. economy, there’s only one stat I really give a shit about: consumer spending. Jobs rely on consumer spending. Stock market performance relies on consumer spending. Corporate spending is an outgrowth of consumer spending. You get the point. Unless consumers are prying open their wallets, don’t expect much else to happen (except IT spending, which is up mostly because expenditures have been put off for too long).
Consumer bankruptcies surged 41% last month relative to the year before as home values continued to fall, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. The number of bankruptcy filings also outpaced the August level of 4% – by a factor of 10. Nearly 125,000 people filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2009, the fourth-highest since a major change in the bankruptcy law was enacted in 2005.