US dollars are counted by a bank in Westminster, Colorado.
Rick Wilking | Reuters
U.S. household net worth rose to new heights in early 2021 and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic began to wear off.
Thanks largely to a surge in stock markets, the overall balance of households and nonprofits rose to $ 136.9 trillion in the first quarter, up 3.8% from late 2020, according to Federal Reserve data released Thursday
Of that, $ 3.2 trillion came from equity holdings, while $ 1 trillion was due to the ongoing escalation in property values. The S&P 500 gained 7% in the quarter as investors expected rising corporate earnings and accommodating fiscal and monetary policy, while speculating on so-called meme stocks.
Historically, household net worth has almost doubled from a decade ago when the nation escaped the throes of the Great Recession.
The increase left net wealth as a share of disposable income at just under 700%, compared to the all-time high at the end of 2020, but still high by historical standards.
Household debt for the quarter was $ 16.9 trillion, growing at a rate of 6.5%, which was the fastest pace through 2006.
The rise in household value came when the growth rate of total private and public debt slowed from 6.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 5.8%, significantly lower than in the first quarter of last year. Back then, government spending pumped trillions into the economy, triggering debt growth of 10.8%, followed by a 25.6% increase in the second quarter.
National debt rose 6.5% in the first quarter, well below the rate of 10.9% in the final three months of 2020, but still enough to bring total debt to just under $ 28 trillion at the end of the quarter to press. National and municipal debt rose 3.8% from 1.6% in the previous quarter.
After slowing down significantly in the second half of 2020, corporate debt picked up again, rising 4.4%.
Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro.
Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV.
Sign up to start a free trial today.