U.S. Net Worth Takes a Hit

Yes, the recovery is still sluggish: Americans’ net worth fell in the second quarter of this year, erasing gains made during the previous two quarters, according to new data released by the Federal Reserve on Friday. The dismal second quarter may even lend credence to the argument that we are facing a double-dip recession. The losses were due to the faltering stock market, in which equity shares owned by households and nonprofits declined by 11.2 percent—falling almost to the level of 2009’s second quarter, when equity was just starting to recover from its low of $10.94 trillion. There might be some good news, though: The economy has been deleveraging. Overall household debt dropped in the second quarter by 2.3 percent. Another faint glimmer of hope comes in the form of the value of real-estate assets, which rose 0.3 percent during the quarter.