Aid, stocks push US wealth to pre-pandemic levels

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    WASHINGTON- A rebounding stock market and massive federal aid payments pushed the net worth of US households back to pre-coronavirus levels in the second quarter, the Federal Reserve reported, with savings accounts and equity portfolios both rising sharply despite the pandemic.

    The US central bank’s latest quarterly look at wealth and income offered further evidence of how the quick mobilization by US lawmakers and the Fed in March and April, including approval of small business loans and $600 per week in extra unemployment insurance, threw a temporary safety net under much of the economy.

    The Fed reported that when the second quarter ended in June, household net worth – the value of homes, stock investments and other assets less what is owed on mortgages and other loans – had hit $118.9 trillion, a $7.6 trillion jump from the prior quarter and above the $118.5 trillion from the last quarter of 2019.

    That included a $5.7 trillion increase in the value of stocks and mutual funds that had cratered at the start of the pandemic but began to surge as the central bank and Congress approved an extensive array of programs to stave off an economic collapse.