Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Minorities, Americans without college degrees showed greatest gains in wealth

WASHINGTON — Nearly all Americans have now emerged from the Great Recession with more money than before — with African-American and Hispanic families and Americans without college degrees showing the greatest gains, according to data released Wednesday from the Federal Reserve.

It's a sign that the recovery from the devastating Great Recession and financial crisis of 2008 is picking up as more people are able to get jobs, pay off debt and invest more.

Household wealth for African-American and Hispanic families and Americans without high school diplomas rose the fastest from 2013 to 2016, according to the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances, which surveys more than 6,000 households about their pay, debt and other finances.

Every slice of America — from young to old and rich to poor — saw their incomes grow and the value of stocks, homes and other assets climb.

But the Fed was also quick to point out growing inequality between the mega rich and everyone else, and between whites and nonwhites.

The income gains marked a dramatic shift from the period of 2010 to 2013, when income fell for all racial and ethnic groups except whites.

"We're glad the recovery is spreading to a lot of households," Fed economists said Wednesday.

The economists didn't elaborate on what caused the widespread gains, but they did note that the unemployment rate has fallen substantially in recent years from 7.5 percent to 5 percent last year.

The median net worth of a white household was $171,000, nearly 10 times that of black households. The median net worth of African-American and Hispanic families was below $21,000. While minority families have seen the biggest percentage gains in recent years, they are starting from a much lower point.

The same was true of Americans without high school diplomas. Their median net worth is just $23,000. That's the sum of the home, their savings, stock holdings and other assets, minus all debts. Median net worth jumps to $67,000 and it soars to almost $300,000 for people with college degrees. The wealthiest and best-educated families continue to pull away from everyone else.

"Shares of income and wealth held by affluent families have reached historically high levels," the Fed wrote in its report.

The share of America's income held by the top 1 percent of households reached 24 percent in 2016, a record high. In 1988, the top 1 percent held only 17 percent of the nation's income. The bull market on Wall Street and surging prices for mansions around the world are helping the super rich increase their millions and billions.

As the mega wealthy have seen their share of the total pie climb, the bottom 90 percent have lost ground. Last year, the bottom 90 percent took home less than half of America's total income for the first time since the Fed began calculating this statistic in the 1980s. In 1992, the bottom 90 percent captured over 60 percent of the income. It's been a steady decline since.

Economists said the large financial gains made by blacks and Hispanics, percentagewise, are mainly explained by the fact that the two groups had far less money to begin with, compared to whites, and so any increase as a result of the nation's economic recovery would appear to be disproportionately large.

"You're looking at people with lower net worth, so when the economy recovers, you are going to see them benefit disproportionately as a percentage," said Jeffrey Eisenach, an economist and managing director at NERA Economic Consulting, which released a study in December on Latino prosperity.

"If you're poor and you go through a tough period, you use all your savings to get through it," Eisenach said. "If you go from having very little to doubling that, you still may not have very much, but you see a big percentage gain."

Given the persistent wealth gap between white families and minorities, Eisenach said he is optimistic that the gains are a "big sign of hope" toward slowly narrowing the chasm. He expects to see the trend continue because his study showed that Hispanics are disproportionately entrepreneurial, have high rates of workforce participation and have a propensity toward saving.

They are also a young demographic group compared to whites, he said: Young Hispanics are working, whereas older whites may not be making as much as they used to.

"What you have is a hardworking entrepreneurial group which is getting ahead in America," Eisenach said.

Comments
Medal haul well short of U.S. Olympic Committee projections

Medal haul well short of U.S. Olympic Committee projections

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — It was a sweeping goal, spelled out on a colorful, full-screen slide and presented to leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee in a meeting last year. Sports executives in America targeted athletes on Team USA to win 37 medals...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — Two boats collided on the Little Manatee River Friday morning, killing one person and injuring two others, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.Arthur D. Showley, 75, died in the crash, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Cons...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Terminally ill man dies a month after marrying junior high school sweetheart

Terminally ill man dies a month after marrying junior high school sweetheart

VALRICO — Dustin Snyder, a terminally-ill Valrico man who married his junior high sweetheart last month, died at 10 a.m. Friday, according to family.On Thursday when his sister Brittany Hails visited him, "he was in and out," she said. "It was just l...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Costs nearly double for I-75 interchange in Pasco County

Costs nearly double for I-75 interchange in Pasco County

NEW PORT RICHEY –— The cost of a diamond is getting pricier.The planned "divergent diamond" interchange, intended to ease traffic congestion at Interstate 75 and State Road 56 where Lutz, Land O’Lakes and Wesley Chapel intersect, is going to be more ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sheriff: Small plane goes down in Zephyrhills

Sheriff: Small plane goes down in Zephyrhills

ZEPHYHRHILLS — A small aircraft crashed along Old Lakeland Highway on Friday afternoon, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies believe the plane was a two-seater.No other information was available about the incident, including the id...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Special Olympians shine at county summer games

Special Olympians shine at county summer games

NEW PORT RICHEY — It was one of those perfect days, when sunscreen and shade are in high demand, smiles are aplenty and the camaraderie on the field trumps the thrill of victory.About 600 Special Olympians and unified athletes from west Pasco schools...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Tampa lawyer gets 27 months in federal prison for insider trading

Tampa lawyer Walter "Chet’’ Little was sentenced this week to 27 months in federal prison for engaging in an insider trading scheme that reaped him and a friend profits totaling nearly $1 million.According to federal authorities, Little accessed comp...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey, the leader of Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations over the way they report job placement figures, says he has no intention of stepping down unless he is paid a severance.In a letter from his attorney...
Updated: 1 hour ago
More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

Three major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picks up steam.Enterprise...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pasco foundation battling childhood hunger one school at a time

Pasco foundation battling childhood hunger one school at a time

ZEPHRYHILLS — On a Thursday morning in a small warehouse off Gall Boulevard, a well-oiled machine of goodwill is cranking. At the Thomas Promise Foundation, volunteers Carlos and Robin Clothier, pack boxes of macaroni and cheese, granola bars, apple ...
Updated: 2 hours ago