NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Checking In on Households’ Balance Sheets”


Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.   Today’s program checks in on households’ balance sheets.  Mike, it’s standard practice for businesses to periodically examine changes to their assets and debts.  But can we do the same thing for households, and if so, how are households doing?

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. Fed Reserve puts out quarterly data on household assets and debts
  2. Good news – household net worth – difference between value of assets and value of debt – has been improving since the end of the recession
  3. All asset classes have been gaining, but in particular – recently – housing
  4. Also, although households are taking on more debt, debt to asset ratio is now 14%, down from 20% during the recession
  5. Also, low interest rates are keeping the relative size of payments low
  6. So, good news – collectively households would rate AAA
  7. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service