Wealth recovery for some, hardly for all

05/31/2013 10:27 AM

06/01/2013 5:55 PM

The numbers seem huge and don’t fit the squeeze still gripping most Americans’ wallets.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reports that U.S. households have regained less than half of the wealth that was lost in the Great Recession. Wealth for America’s 115 million households fell $16 trillion from the third quarter of 2007 through the first quarter of 2009.

However, in the last three months of 2012 U.S. households recovered $14.7 billion, The Associated Press reports. But the average Joe and Josephine Sixpack didn’t much feel it because nearly two-thirds of the wealth recovery since 2009 was caused by stock market gains, which disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

The richest 10 percent own about 80 percent of the stock. Folks below that mostly bank on the equity in their homes, which took a huge hit in the Great Recession. Home prices are about 30 percent below their peak, although they did go up nearly 11 percent in the last year.

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