Sign up for a daily newsletter defining what matters in business and markets

Stories

America's bottom 50% are slowly recovering from the Great Recession

Note: Not adjusted for inflation; Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The total net worth of the bottom 50% of Americans fell to -$143 billion in the second quarter of 2010 — meaning the lowest 50% of earners had collective liabilities far outpaced their collective assets, largely underwater home and auto loans. Their net worth remained negative until Q1 2013, Federal Reserve data shows.

What it means: "The recovery is just now getting to the bottom of the economy," Kevin Barry, chief investment officer at investment manager CAPTRUST, tells Axios. "At the end of 2015 the overwhelming majority of Americans would say, 'What recovery?'"

By the numbers: The bottom 50% of earners' net worth rose to nearly $1.3 trillion in the first quarter of 2019. However, their share of total U.S. net worth has just this year risen above 1% of the total. The top 1% of earners' share is 31.1% as of the first quarter of 2019, according to the Fed's data.