Utah’s Economy: The Great Recession and Retail Sales in Utah

great recession and retail sales In retrospect, the rapid run-up in retail sales prior to the Great Recession was evidence of the growing debt load of Utah households. At the time, increases in retail sales in Utah were far outstripping gains in wages or incomes. The nearly $6 billion increase in retail sales in four years (2003-2007) was financed in large part by generous lenders extending credit to Utah households. Household debt exploded between 2000 and 2007. Nationally household debt jumped from $7 trillion to $14 trillion during this seven year period. It is safe to assume that Utah households participated in like manner and doubled their debt prior to the recession. Using all manner of credit – revolving credit, installment loans, lines of credit, and home equity loans – households financed higher standards of living and pushed retail sales to an all-time high in Utah of $27 billion in 2007.

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