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September 19, 2014

Household Wealth Tops Pre-Recession Levels

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Household Wealth Tops Pre-Recession Levels

A robust stock market and stronger housing indicators are helping more Americans regain the household wealth that they lost during the Great Recession.

Federal Reserve reports that the net worth of American households is now higher than before the recession that occurred about five and a half years ago, without adjusting for inflation. Household net worth climbed 4.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013, reaching $70.3 trillion, compared to $68.1 trillion in 2007. 

For the first quarter of 2013, real estate holdings accounted for a $784 billion increase in household net worth, according to the Fed. Corporate shares and mutual funds accounted for a nearly $1.5 trillion gain in that time. 

A recent poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS News shows that more Americans are feeling upbeat about the direction of the economy, saying the economy was “very” or “fairly good.” That's the highest share since the recession began in 2007. However, some indicators continue to lag.

“Even as consumer spending remains healthy and the housing market rebounds, the labor market has been much slower to recover and many Americans at middle and lower income levels remain worse off than before the downturn,” The New York Times reports. "The lackluster gains in jobs and income for most Americans stand in contrast to the rally on Wall Street and increase in home prices so far this year.”

Source: “Fed Reports American Households Have Regained Ground Lost in the Recession,” The New York Times (June 6, 2013)

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