Meaningless: The BEA conducts a comprehensive revision of the NIPA tables every five years. The saving rate is usually revised upward, and by a fair amount, as was the case for most of the 2000s.
So in "roughly" 5 years from 2009 (it's not uniformly 5 years between each revision), you will see a higher saving rate than you do today. As I said in July, the
"BEA has "found" that households have been in fact saving roughly 1% more of their disposable income per quarter since 1995, 0.9% per quarter in 2008."They will "find" it again.
Unhealthy: But even if they don't "find" much more than an average +1% a year, there's probably something a bit more sinister and non-economic (i.e., in addition to the wealth, income, or substitution effects - see Edward Harrison's post on this point) going on here: non-market activity is rising. I haven't seen a study to this point - if you have, please send me the link; I am very interested - but I wouldn't be surprised if non-market income has crept up lately, i.e., through the informal labor force.
With an employment-to-population ratio a shocking 58.5% in February (it was 63.4% as recently as March 2007), there's got to be a growing supply of labor that is "working under the table" just to get by. This non-market income would flow through the spending accounts but not the income accounts. Therefore, you have official consumption going up with official income (doesn't include non-market income) stalling, which reduces the saving rate.
Now go back and read Marshall Auerback's push for government as ELR (appropriate credit is given in this report)!