In its report today about the shrinking American economy, the Bureau of Economic Analysis notes that people are spending less money — which of course means they're saving more. From the BEA:
Personal saving — disposable personal income less personal outlays — was $566.0 billion in the second quarter, compared with $426.9 billion in the first. The personal saving rate — saving as a percentage of disposable personal income — was 5.2 percent in the second quarter, compared with 4.0 percent in the first.
The U.S. personal saving rate has been trending downward for decades, even dipping into the negative as people piled up credit card balances and other types of debt. During this recession, Americans have started to hoard cash again, and you can see that in today's report.
After recent talks with China, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced a general agreement to spur shopping among Chinese customers and encourage saving among American ones. Looks like he'll have the wind at his back on this one.