- Government adding debt at a $2082 billion annualized rate
- Private sector reducing debt at a $2515 billion annualized rate (household sector: -$233 billion, corporate sector: -$203 billion, financial sector: -$2079 billion)
- Foreign sector adding debt at a $192 billion annualized rate
US Total Borrowing by Sector (Quarterly 2003 - 2009/Q2) Relative to GDP
(click on chart for a larger version in a new window)
The rate of private sector deleveraging (yellow line) is still increasing as of Q2. The rate of government borrowing (red line) has been mostly flat since Q3 2008, with a dip in Q1 2009. If these two trends continue, total borrowing may begin to contract more significantly, with potentially more noticeable macroeconomic impacts (for example, deflation).
US Change in Debt By Sector (Quarterly 2003 - 2009/Q2)
This chart shows the quarterly change in debt for each sector, i.e., borrowing relative to existing debt for that sector rather than relative to GDP. Since government debt is much smaller than private debt, it clearly is growing at a much larger rate in these terms. Also of note is that the private sector is deleveraging at a 6.6% annualized rate, which leaves a lot of room for further private sector debt reduction.
US Total Borrowing By Sector (1974 - 2009/Q2) Relative to GDP
This chart shows the same data on a longer time-line — annual data since 1974.
US Borrowing by Sector Excluding Bank Credit (1974 - 2009/Q2) Relative to GDP
This chart again shows the longer term borrowing trend but with changes in bank credit (TOTBKCR) subtracted from total borrowing and private sector borrowing. In other words, it captures the borrowing enabled by non-bank lending (such as bond issuance). While the data isn't very useful for most of the years shown (since expanding bank lending increases the money supply and amplifies the non-bank lending that can occur), the point of this chart is to show that the recent contraction in total borrowing is not about contraction in bank loans alone.
UPDATE: I have focused on total debt including the financial sector in part as context for addressing the eternally asked question of why government debt finds enough buyers, however total non-financial borrowing may have more relevance to the health of the economy due to a higher correlation (maybe?) with consumption markets rather than asset markets. By this measure, we are not deleveraging in aggregate because of current government spending, as the Z1 report makes clear:
"Debt of the domestic nonfinancial sectors is estimated to have expanded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 percent in the second quarter of 2009, about ¾ percentage point faster than in the previous quarter. Private debt contracted in the second quarter while government debt expanded."