Tuesday April 17, 2012

Economy More Stable This Year Than Last

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As reported by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the economy seems more stable this year than it did last year. Company and household balance sheets are stronger, and retail sales are rising. "The recovery seems more broad-based in the U.S.," says Jonas Prising, president of the Americas at ManpowerGroup. "I see it across industries and I see it across geographies." Risk also is lower, he notes. "The external environment and the factors that affected it last year are a lot less severe this year."

Consumer-loan delinquencies fell across the board in the fourth quarter, the first time that's happened in eight years, according to the American Bankers Association in Washington. Banks have reduced leverage, with financial-institution debt as share of the economy at its lowest level in a decade. And corporations are flush with cash: The ratio of liquid assets to short-term liabilities is the highest since 1954, based on data compiled by the Federal Reserve.

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