An economy is an asset that produces flows of consumption and investment expenditure. In a growing economy you would expect these flows to grow. Household consumption expenditure, while growing larger every year, has ceased to increase at a faster rate year on year for some time:
If we exclude imputed rent paid by households (money not actually spent) and money spent on games of chance (excluded here for the benefit of the analysis to follow), annual year on year (Q on Q basis) shows data as of Q4 2015 below growth in flows reached in the late 1980s:
Why have I deducted games of chance from expenditure? Well the main reason is I believe that increased expenditure on games of chance is more a sign of consumer stress than consumer health:
Imputed rent, also a proxy for housing affordability, as a % of household expenditure has increased to close to 16% while expenditure on recreation and culture ex games of chance has fallen steadily since its peak in 1999.
The divergence can be better seen in the following chart showing annual Q on Q increases in these expenditures: