Corporations around the world responded aggressively to the global recession and financial crisis, clamping down on spending and hoarding massive piles of cash. In the United States, where cost-cutting was especially dramatic, nonfinancial firms hold close to $2 trillion in cash, equal to a record 7 percent of total assets. (See “Time to Let Go?” this page.) Meanwhile, debt burdens are smaller than they've been in decades, both in the United States and globally.
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