Fed: Average Household Lost $21K in 3rd Quarter

Friday, 09 Dec 2011 06:13 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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Americans are clearly worse off than they were just since this past spring, according to a new Federal Reserve report.

The average U.S. household lost $21,261 of net worth over the summer months, according to the latest quarterly report by the Fed, which was released Thursday, reports the New York Post.

Of course none of this should come as news to President Barack Obama, who already went on record during an exchange with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in October as saying that Americans are not better off than they were before he moved into the White House.

obama, fed, family,net worth loss“Well, I don't think they're better off than they were four years ago,” Obama said at that time. “They're not better off than they were before Lehman collapsed, before the financial crisis, before this extraordinary recession that we're going through.”

Obama, however, pointed to progress in stabilizing the economy during the same interview. “I think that what we've seen is that we've been able to make steady progress to stabilize the economy, but the unemployment rate is still way too high. And that's why it's so critical for us to make sure that we are taking every action we can take to put people back to work.”

Attributed to falling home values and a tumultuous stock market, the third-quarter decline marked the second straight quarter of eroding net wealth for U.S. households.

The news comes at a time when the president has already received sharp criticism over a reported 17-day Hawaiian Christmas vacation in an exclusive beach-front residence in Kailua, Oahu and for his lack of leadership.

Described as a “Winter White House,” the rental has been estimated to cost as much as $3,500 a day or $75,000 a month.

The president has also come under mounting criticism for failing to prevent the collapse of the congressional budget supercommittee, which was unable to reach agreement on ways to solve the country’s debt crisis.

As the supercommittee neared its deadline, the president was off the mainland U.S. for nine days, hosting an Asian-Pacific summit in Hawaii before jetting off to Australia and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, two straight quarterly declines in household net worth have cost U.S. families a combined $2.55 trillion, according to the New York Post report. Household net worth is considered to be the value of homes, bank accounts and stocks less mortgages, credit cards and other debt.

The overall net worth of households declined from $511,224 at the start of 2011 to just $498,751 as of Sept. 30.

The decline follows an average increase of $9,757 per household between January and March that was offset slightly by a $912 decline in the second quarter.

Overall, about 15 cents of every $1 of U.S. household wealth is tied to stocks or mutual funds, which are held by about half of all households.

The Fed found that stock portfolios declined by about 5.2 percent in the third quarter, while home process dropped slightly more than half a percent. Home values dropped to $16.1 trillion from $21 trillion in 2007, according to the Post.

U.S. companies are faring much better than average Americans, with business amassing a record $2.11 trillion in cash and liquid assets for a net increase of a half-trillion dollars, the Post reports.


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