The recovery of the U.S. consumer in terms of debt and savings since the 2008 financial crisis is only in the 6th inning, Yale economist Stephen Roach said Tuesday.
"This is a regulation nine innings, maybe extra innings," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box," disputing the notion the consumer is back and spending with a vengeance. "We've never had a period of weak consumption like this."
Consumer activity accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy.
"Seventy percent of the economy growing at 1.5 to 2 percent. That's not terrific for the people who want [overall] GDP growth and earnings growth to pick up and support stocks," Roach said.
Americans are still dealing with the aftermath of the crisis. "They're still trying to pay down debt loads [and] rebuild savings balances. The healing … takes a long time," he said.
Roach said savers need incentives to put money away. "With zero interest rates, it's hard to get a return."
Easy money policies from Federal Reserve, including ultra-low interest rates and years of massive bond purchases, are largely to blame, Roach contended. "We've got a central bank engaged in central planning."
"This will go down in history as possibly a watershed period of the worst performance of central banking since the depression," he said.