U.S. wealth rises, but many people still trail ’07 peak
Surging stock prices and increases in home values powered American household wealth to $96.9 trillion this fall.
The Federal Reserve said Thursday that U.S. net worth rose $1.7 trillion in the July-September quarter, extending a steady upward march in American wealth after the Great Recession eliminated about one-sixth of it in 2008.
U.S. wealth has made a remarkable comeback since the recession, when it plummeted more than $10 trillion.
But Edward Wolff, an economist at New York University, uses other Fed data to calculate figures for average and median households. In 2016, the latest figures available, median household wealth was still 34 percent below its pre-recession 2007 level.
Points to know:
The Fed’s latest figures come as Congress is considering a tax cut plan that would reduce taxes on corporations and would mostly benefit wealthier taxpayers.
Opponents of the corporate tax cut argue that companies’ huge cash stockpiles — which have grown nearly 16 percent since 2015 — demonstrate that businesses already have the money they need to invest.
Just 10 percent of the wealthiest households owned 84 percent of the value of American stocks in 2016, Wolff ’s research shows.
While average household wealth reached $667,600 in 2016, net worth for the median household was just $78,100.