U.S. household wealth fell for the second straight quarter from July to September, dropping by $2.2 trillion (4.1 percent) to $57.4 trillion, the Federal Reserve stated in its flow of funds report. The decline comes to about $7,800 for every U.S. resident.
A comparison between the reports of the two straight quarters suggests that the non-financial debt of the U.S. is on the rise.
At the end of the third quarter of 2011, domestic non-financial debt outstanding was $37.8 trillion, of which household debt was $13.2 trillion, non-financial business debt was $11.5 trillion, and total government debt was $13.1 trillion.
At the end of the second quarter of 2011, domestic non-financial debt outstanding was $36.5 trillion, household debt $13.3 trillion, non-financial business debt just over $11 trillion, and total government debt was $12.2 trillion.
In last three months, the domestic non-financial debt outstanding increased by $1.3 trillion in the last three months.
Non-financial business debt rose at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter, 1 percent slower than the pace registered in the second quarter. Corporate bonds outstanding and business loans increased while commercial mortgage debt continued to decline.
In the last quarter, non-financial business debt increased at an annual rate of 4 percent.
Analysts are hoping for a better fourth quarter for the household net worth as the U.S. stocks have performed well at the end of the third quarter.
IHS expects a strong fourth-quarter rebound in household net worth resulting mostly from a rally in stock prices, Gregory Daco, principal U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight, wrote in a note Thursday.
This should provide some support to consumer spending as employment growth continues to make progress and consumers cheer up ahead of the holidays, he added.