The prosperity of US citizens has risen sharply, despite the pandemic and the worst economic decline since 1946, which left 20 million people unemployed.
At the end of the first quarter of 2021, the total wealth of Americans reached a record 154.2 trillion dollars, follows from the data from the Federal Reserve.
Over the year, the assets of American households grew by $ 26 trillion, and when compared with the fourth quarter of 2019 – by 20 trillion.
Taking into account the $ 17.2 trillion in personal debt, the net wealth of the US population reached $ 136.9 trillion, or 620% of GDP.
About 70% of this amount – $ 109.6 trillion – falls on financial assets. These are pension plans (for $ 29.9 trillion), investments in stocks ($ 28.2 trillion), shares in small businesses (for $ 13.1 trillion), as well as mutual funds ($ 11.6 trillion) and bank deposits ( by 11.2 trillion). The latter were replenished by $ 2.7 trillion, despite rates close to zero.
Non-financial assets (mainly real estate, but also cars, jewelry, etc.) owned by Americans amount to $ 44.6 trillion.
“The main contributor to the growth in wealth came from investments in stocks and funds, which skyrocketed as a result of the rally that the stock market experienced after unprecedented stimulus from the government and the Fed,” notes ING economist James Knightley.
As a result, “the rich have become much, much, much richer,” he says: firstly, it is the wealthy who own the financial assets, and secondly, they are the ones who managed to save on “forbidden” entertainment, on which the poor spend much less money …
However, the poor stratum also received assistance – three checks each from the government for $ 1.2 thousand, $ 600 and $ 1.4 thousand. And due to the growth of unemployment benefits, 69% of their recipients turned out to be more profitable not to work, because social assistance turned out to be higher than salaries.
The accumulation of wealth is another factor driving consumer spending and, as a result, inflation, which could remain high for a long time, Knightley said.