Americans’ net worth falls for the first time since the financial crisis amid stock selloff

The Federal Reserve reported that the net worth of American households fell by $3.73 trillion during last year's 4th quarter

(Credit: Pixabay)
(Credit: Pixabay)

The personal net worth of Americans fell in the fourth quarter of 2018 by the largest amount since the financial crisis.

The Federal Reserve reported that personal net worth had declined to $104.3 trillion by the end of December, down $3.73 trillion from the end of September.

It was the second-largest dollar decline in the personal net worth of Americans since the Fed began reporting the quarterly statistic.

The net worth of American households has increased 73 percent since 2009.

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Much of the last year’s fourth-quarter decline stemmed from stocks amid widespread worry that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates too fast.

American households watched the value of their stock investments drop by $4.6 trillion during last year’s fourth quarter, partially offset by a $300 billion increase in the value of their real estate holdings.

The 3.4 percent overall decline in American net worth coincided with 2.6 percent GDP growth during October, November and December.

Economists generally foresee slower economic growth this year. The Atlanta Fed has forecast GDP growth of 0.5 percent in 2019. [CNBC]Mike Seemuth