A new U.S. government report shows that Americans, on average, spent much more than they earned in 2006, pushing the country's personal savings rate to the lowest level in more than 70 years.
The Commerce Department report issued Thursday shows the average savings rate for last year was a negative one percent. That means people not only spent all the money they earned, but also dipped into savings to finance what they bought.
That negative one percent savings rate is the lowest for Americans since 1933, during the so-called Great Depression. Savings rates for the United States have been negative for an entire year only four times in history - including last year and the year before.
In December, consumer spending rose seven-tenths of one percent - the highest level in five months. Americans, on average, spend more during the holiday season in December than during most other months of the year.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.