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Conor Sen

Your Net Worth Is America’s Secret Economic Weapon

Soaring stock and home prices can make this recovery much stronger than the last one.

There's no crisis this time.

There's no crisis this time.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America

A paradox of this economic crisis is that while U.S. employment remains 13 million below its pre-pandemic peak, the net worth of American households may be at a record high, thanks to the soaring prices of stocks and homes.

This doesn't discount the need for fiscal relief for workers and small businesses that are struggling, but it's an important difference from the recovery that followed the 2008 financial crisis. Then, households spent five years repairing their balance sheets. They largely won’t have to do that again this time. That could help fast-forward the economic expansion once the public-health crisis ends.