Archive for Friday, December 11, 2009

Americans’ net worth up for 2nd quarter

December 11, 2009

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— Inch by inch, Americans are recovering some of their vast loss of wealth from the recession, thanks to gains in stock investments and home values.

It’s likely to be a long trek.

Net worth — the value of assets such as homes, bank accounts and investments, minus debts like mortgages and credit cards — rose 5 percent last quarter, to $53.4 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. That was the second straight quarterly increase.

Yet even with those gains, Americans’ net worth remains far below its revised peak of $64.5 trillion reached before the recession began. That underscores the vast loss of wealth over the past two years. Net worth would need to rise an additional 21 percent just to return to its pre-recession height.

And many analysts don’t expect a repeat of the strong second- and third-quarter gains any time soon. That’s why Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics at Moody’s Economy.com, thinks household wealth won’t match its pre-recession peak until about 2012.

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