Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Fed: Household wealth down about 20%

Marketplace Staff Mar 25, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Fed: Household wealth down about 20%

Marketplace Staff Mar 25, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The Fed came out with a survey this week about how much families bring in here in the U.S. And about how Americans make less and own less than they did before the financial crisis. So what does that survey really tell us?

Jill Schlesinger is editor at large for CBS/MoneyWatch and she’s with us live from New York as she is every Friday. Good morning.

JILL SCHLESINGER: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: So break this survey down for us.

SCHLESINGER: Well, everybody lost in this survey, but those at the bottom lost less when it comes to income. While those at the top saw more dramatic losses in their income levels. So not spread evenly. The rich did worse.

CHIOTAKIS: The more money you have, the most money you lost. All right, everyone spends money Jill. Does this mean people are spending money differently?

SCHLESINGER: Well, now you might think that we would spend differently because of those results, but people at the bottom definitely pulled back more, they were replenishing their savings and paying down debt. But here’s the big surprise. The wealthy kicked up their spending, especially on those nice luxury items. So they did not let their income levels deter them.

CHIOTAKIS: So bottom line Jill, what do these numbers say about the economic recovery going forward?

SCHLESINGER: Well, you know we always hear this statistic that consumers make up 70 percent of the economy. That’s actually important because if we don’t see more people spending robustly, we continue to have this slow growth economy. And don’t forget. A slow growth economy means fewer jobs created at a quick enough pace. That’s what we’re stuck with right now.

CHIOTAKIS: All right, Jill Schlesinger at CBS/MoneyWatch in New York, Jill thank you.

SCHLESINGER: Great to be with you.

CHIOTAKIS: Have a great weekend.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.