Mint's low level view of the U.S. economy

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TechCrunch has an interesting article on Mint's ability to analyze their users' spending habits to see the impact of the current economic downturn. With over 900,000 users managing over $50 billion dollars in assets Mint is able to provide a statistically significant assessment of a particular segment of the economy.

What I found interesting in the article were the charts showing the rapid decline in spending between May 2008 and November 2008. While spending picked up in December for Christmas it only rose to the same level as June 2008. The overall spending pattern pretty much matches home related transaction volumes, which seem to reaffirm the common wisdom that most people's greatest expense is their shelter.

While decreased spending is good the problem with the economic decline is its affects on the net worth of those with non-cash investments. This was visible in Mint's chart showing people's assets and liabilities. With most asset values down the liabilities increased (loan) or remained steady (credit).

Overall I found the article to be a very interesting read and hope that they will release more data in this form each quarter because their statistics are quite authoritative given their user base and helps provide everyone with another perspective on the currently puzzling economy.

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