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Monday, September 27, 2010

Saving Rates in the United States: Calculation and Comparison

Craig K. Elwell
Specialist in Macroeconomic Policy

The amount of money saved has important economic consequences. Nationally, the amount of saving affects how much can be invested and ultimately the size of the capital stock. Increasing the size of the capital stock is believed to be one way to raise the productivity of the labor force and the economy’s long-term growth rate. Individually, saving is critical to accumulating sufficient wealth to maintain living standards after retirement. This report explains how national saving is measured, presents recent estimates of saving rates in the United States, and, for comparison, provides those of other major industrial countries.

The pace of economic growth is likely to be a matter of particular importance in the decades just ahead as the economy confronts the need to effect unprecedented generational transfers of income to pay for the retirement of the baby-boom generation. A larger economic pie makes such transfers easier for the economy to bear. Because the national rate of saving has implications for the pace of economic growth and the country’s capacity to meet these long-term obligations, it is likely to be matter of ongoing concern to Congress.

Date of Report: September 14, 2010
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: RS21480
Price: $29.95

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