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US Consumers Have Reached A Breaking Point

Over the past several years, the cost of living has been rising significantly faster than paychecks have.  As a result, U.S. consumers have reached a breaking point.  Delinquency rates are spiking and bankruptcies have risen to a very dangerous level.  I have been hearing from so many people that are struggling to survive in this suffocating economic environment.  It has become increasingly difficult just to pay for the basics, and so many Americans have very little or no discretionary income to spend these days.  If you want evidence that this is having a major economic impact, just consider the fact that 1,000 dollar stores are going to be shut down.  If U.S. consumers were in good shape, that wouldn’t be happening.

The economic shift that we have witnessed since the turn of the decade has been nothing short of epic.

According to Zillow, the average monthly mortgage payment for Americans buying a home now is nearly double what it was in January 2020…

The real estate firm Zillow reports that since January 2020, the monthly mortgage payment on a typical U.S. home has nearly doubled. It’s up 96% in just four years.

According to Zillow, a typical buyer will now pay nearly $2,200 a month, with a 10% down payment. Meaning, homeownership now costs well above the 30% of median income that was once thought to equate to “affordable” housing cost in America.

And with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hovering around seven percent right now, there’s not a whole lot of light at the end of this tunnel.

If home buyers have to shell out twice as much for their mortgage payments compared to four years ago, they are going to have a lot less money to spend on other things.

And this is the primary reason why so many of our young people simply cannot afford to purchase a home right now.

At this point, you need to earn approximately $106,000 a year in order to “afford the median home in the United States”

“After the surge in home-buying demand and mobility during the pandemic, and the doubling of mortgage rates, home-shoppers now need to earn $106,000 to afford the median home in the United States,” said Divounguy.

Back in 2020, the salary needed to afford the median monthly mortgage payment was just $59,000.

Of course it isn’t just housing that has become extremely unaffordable.

For the first time I can ever remember, the cost of burgers has become a major national issue



I can’t imagine paying more than 20 dollars for a burger, fries and drink at a fast food restaurant.

But this is life in America in 2024.

Our leaders have created an inflationary nightmare.

The Biden administration continues to insist that inflation is a low, but that is a lie.

Another lie that we have been told is that the unemployment rate is low.

How can that be possible when we just witnessed the worst February for layoffs since Challenger, Gray & Christmas started keeping records?…

The pace of job cuts by U.S. employers accelerated in February, a sign the labor market is starting to deteriorate in the face of ongoing inflation and high interest rates.

That is according to a new report published Thursday by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which found that companies planned 84,638 job cuts in February, a 3% increase from the previous month and a 9% jump from the same time last year.

It marked the highest layoff total for the month of February in data going back to 2009.

The Biden administration keeps telling us that there are plenty of good jobs available.

So why are so many highly qualified workers having such difficulty finding work?  Here is one example

Since leaving a university research administration job last May, Kyle Clark has cast an ever-widening net in his search for a new position.

First the 30-year-old sought jobs in technical editing, a skill he honed at the university. Then he leveraged his administrative experience, applying for openings in insurance and project management. Finally, he tossed his hat in the ring for a job posting at a local big-box retailer, only to be told the store wasn’t hiring.

After fruitlessly job hunting in the Portland, Oregon, area, Clark moved in with his parents in Tennessee with no better results. Now he’s heading to Chicago to try his luck in the Windy City.

Why can’t Kyle Clark find a job?

He has submitted applications for approximately 250 jobs, and he hasn’t received a single offer

The tally so far: about 250 applications, 14 positive responses, 12 interviews. No job offers.

“I am losing my mind,” Clark says, noting he has a four-year college degree and seven years of work experience. “I am just burned out. … I just want to be employed. I have skills, I want to work, and that’s what’s frustrating. I want to. Just let me.”

I have heard from so many others that are in the exact same boat.

So something is not adding up.

The rosy picture of the economy that the Biden administration is giving us simply does not match reality at all.

And now we have reached a breaking point.

Last year, the total number of bankruptcy filings in the United States was 18 percent higher than the year before…

U.S. bankruptcy filings surged by 18% in 2023 on the back of higher interest rates, tougher lending standards and the continued runoff of pandemic-era backstops, data published Wednesday showed, although insolvency case volumes remain well below the level seen before the outbreak of COVID-19.

Total bankruptcy filings – encompassing commercial and personal insolvencies – rose to 445,186 last year from 378,390 in 2022, according to data from bankruptcy data provider Epiq AACER.

Based on what we are seeing so far this year, I fully expect the final number for 2024 to absolutely crush the final number for 2023.

Meanwhile, it is being reported that corporate bond defaults were up by a whopping 80 percent last year…

Consumers aren’t the only ones defaulting on their debts: Corporate bond defaults were up massively in 2023, especially for high-risk junk debt, and the trend is continuing this year at a pace not seen since the 2008 global financial crisis. Unsurprisingly, companies selling low-rated junk debt are being hit the worst.

Last year, according to S&P Global Ratings, corporate bond defaults increased by a disconcerting 80%. High interest rates coupled with high inflation have made it a struggle for companies to make good on their commitments even as waves of new bond buyers continue to arrive, eager to lock in higher yields before rates go down.

Many have pointed out that corporate bond defaults spiked like this just prior to the financial crisis of 2008 too.

We have entered such dangerous territory, and it appears that things will get even worse throughout the rest of this year.

Our leaders were able to delay the inevitable for a while by flooding the system with trillions upon trillions of dollars.

But now an economic nightmare has arrived anyway, and the days ahead are going to be exceedingly challenging for most U.S. consumers.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

The post US Consumers Have Reached A Breaking Point appeared first on The Washington Standard.

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