You feel poorer because you are: U.S. household net worth slips


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It’s understandable if Americans feel poorer. It’s because they are.

The net worth of American households decreased nearly 0.3% in the second quarter as the value of their homes and stock portfolios slumped, according to data released Friday by the Federal Reserve.

Household wealth fell to $58.5 trillion, as home values skidded 0.5% and financial assets, including stock holdings, slipped 0.3%.


And consumers’ balance sheets may get worse before they get better, courtesy of declining stock prices over the past three months.

“The third quarter will likely be one to remember as the steepest household net worth decline since the early days of the 2007-2009 recession,” Gregory Daco, an economist at IHS Global Insight, wrote in a report.

“The steep stock market losses incurred since early August will combine with the poor housing market for a lethal mix,” Daco wrote. “This is not good news for consumers.”

Here’s the link to the Fed data (all 127 pages of it). The household worth data are on page 113, line 42.


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-- Walter Hamilton