Dec 13, 2019

U.S. businesses have more debt than American households

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Data: Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. businesses now have more debt than American households, according to data released by the Fed on Thursday.

Why it matters: It’s the first time corporate borrowing levels has clipped that of households in 28 years and "a potential warning sign for the economy as corporate investment softens," Bloomberg reports.

  • Lower-for-longer interest rates have fueled a borrowing frenzy, and Fed officials have warned about potential risks high corporate debt levels could pose to the record-long economic expansion.

Between the lines: Businesses investment "has historically climbed when borrowing rose."

  • But companies have pulled back on investing in things like new buildings and factories — which fuel economic growth — with CEOs citing trade war uncertainty and worries about a global growth slowdown as the reason.
  • Bloomberg notes companies in some cases used borrowed cash to finance buybacks and dividends.

Go deeper: The states having the most trouble with credit card debt

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World Bank cuts growth forecast for fourth time in a row

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The World Bank cut its global growth forecast for the fourth straight time on Wednesday, reducing expectations by 0.2 percentage points each year for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

"Global economic growth is forecast to edge up to 2.5% in 2020 as investment and trade gradually recover from last year’s significant weakness but downward risks persist. ... U.S. growth is forecast to slow to 1.8% this year, reflecting the negative impact of earlier tariff increases and elevated uncertainty."
— World Bank statement on its Global Economic Prospects report
Go deeperArrowJan 9, 2020

A record for out-of-store spending

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are now spending nearly as much money remotely as they are in person.

Why it matters: It's a nod to the e-commerce boom, where corporate giants like Amazon and other businesses that bulked up their online presence are cashing in like never before.

Go deeperArrowDec 20, 2019

Bloomberg unveils Trump-focused economic agenda

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg released Wednesday an economic agenda that focuses heavily on helping "the people and communities that have been short-changed by President Trump," per the plan's details, by creating jobs and increasing wages.

Why it matters: It's no secret Trump wants to run his re-election campaign on the economy, but Bloomberg is tapping into a conversation we're hearing from voters all across the country, whether in our focus groups or on the campaign trail: wages aren't keeping up and Trump isn't talking about that.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020