Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Data: Federal Reserve; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

U.S. household net worth rose by the most ever in the second quarter, thanks largely to the record-breaking rise in stock prices.

By the numbers: Household net worth increased by $7.6 trillion, or 6.8%, to $119 trillion. The gain was the largest on record dating back to 1952, new Fed data show.

  • The value of equities rose $5.7 trillion from the prior quarter, accounting for a little more than 75% of the total U.S net worth increase.

Where it stands: Americans' net worth is up for the year, after declining by $7.2 trillion in the first quarter, when the value of equities dropped by $8.3 trillion but real estate assets rose by $422 billion and other assets (including physical assets like jewelry) increased by $1.1 trillion.

The intrigue: Increases in stock prices have accounted for an average of 65% of Americans' net worth increases over the past 20 years, according to Axios calculations.

  • Real estate value has added a far smaller percentage of the net worth gain, but have been positive in every quarter since Q1 2012.

Of note: Consumer credit fell at a 6.6% annual pace, the most since World War II, thanks in large part to a decline in credit card balances.

  • That came as the federal government debt rose by 58.9% and businesses continued to ratchet up debt, with domestic nonfinancial debt totaling $59.3 trillion.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Dec 23, 2020 - Economy & Business

Vaccines and strong economy could mean inflation in 2021

Expand chart
Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Axios Visuals

With nearly $3 trillion in lending from the Fed this year, and Congress approving $900 billion in debt-financed spending on top of the $3.1 trillion budget deficit in fiscal year 2020, inflation hawks are sounding the alarm.

Why it matters: “Inflation staying low and well-behaved is the foundation on which everything in markets is currently priced,” Karen Ward, chief market strategist for Europe at JPMorgan Asset Management, told FT.

GOP research firm aims to hobble Biden nominees

Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Joshua Roberts/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican-aligned opposition research group America Rising is doing all it can to prevent President Biden from seating his top Cabinet picks.

Why it matters: After former President Trump inhibited the transition, Biden is hoping the Republican minority in Congress will cooperate with getting his team in place. Biden hadn't even been sworn in when America Rising began blasting opposition research to reporters targeting Janet Yellen and Alejandro Mayorkas.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Jen Psaki: "With that I’d love to take your questions”

In her inaugural briefing as White House press secretary, Jen Psaki said she has a “deep respect for the role of a free and independent press in our democracy,” and pledged to hold daily briefings.

Why it matters: Conferences with the press secretary in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room became almost non-existent under the Trump administration. By sending Psaki to the podium hours after President Biden took the oath of office, the White House signaled a return to pre-Trump norms.