U.S. Households Still a Long Way From Wealth Recovery

by Marc Bastow | May 31, 2013 10:44 am

Despite a booming stock market that continues to move forward with record closes on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500, and a slowly recovering economy, U.S. households continue to lag according to a new report (read the press release here[1])  issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The report, published on Thursday, concludes that only 45% of American households have recovered the wealth lost since 2007, with stock market gains contributing 62% of the overall wealth to that recovery. Further, those gains are not evenly distributed, as stock wealth is disproportionally held, falling to a smaller portion of households.

The Fed’s report states in part “average household wealth in real terms, contrary to recent headlines, has not fully recovered; indeed, it is only about halfway back to prerecession levels.”

Making the recovery more difficult for families is that in many parts of the country to housing crises remains, with lower home prices wreaking havoc on family balance sheets. Additionally, meager wage increases — or the lack of them — tend to fall on lower income families hardest hit by the financial crises.

Indeed, the overwhelming loss in household wealth has fallen on African-American and Hispanic families, as these groups tend to have a greater portion of wealth tied up in real estate and carry higher debt-to-asset ratios, according to an essay authored by Ray Boshara, Director, and William Emmons, Chief Economist, at the Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability.

Written by Marc Bastow, Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com.




  1. read the press release here: http://www.stlouisfed.org/newsroom/displayNews.cfm?article=1801

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