On today’s Morning Joe, Steven Rattner discussed charts showing that hardly a day goes by without Donald Trump tweet-bragging about record stock prices – as if soaring equity markets have much to do with the wealth, jobs or wages of the average American, the folks who made him president.
For starters, only about half of Americans own any stocks (including through their retirement accounts). This number has fallen from record highs of 65% in 2007 and is at a 17 year low. A still smaller share – about one-third – of those below the median income level are equity owners. And as the right hand chart shows, even when average Americans do hold shares, they typically hold small amounts. Those around median incomes (roughly $56,500 per family in 2016) have just $15,500 in the stock market and it drops off from there.In contrast, the typical stock holdings of Americans in the top 10% was $365,000 in 2016.
In contrast, the typical stock holdings of Americans in the top 10% was $365,000 in 2016.
Measures of income and wealth that are more important to middle and working class Americans have not done nearly as well. While the U.S. stock market has risen more than 17% since Jan. 31, house prices – typically, a family’s largest investment — are only up 4% (through October) and wages have risen by 2.3% through November (and just 0.6% once inflation is accounted for). For blue collar workers, the news is even worse; their wages are up by less than 1% since Mr. Trump took office.
In a Saturday tweet, the president proclaimed that the rising stock market has been creating jobs (and will continue to do so in the future.) Yes, more than 2 million jobs were created during the first year of the Trump administration. But that is fewer jobs than were created in any year since 2010 – and far less than the nearly 3 million jobs created in 2014.