The net worth of US households—assets minus debt—fell $1.33 trillion in the first quarter to $51.71 trillion, the Wall Street Journal reports. The 2.6% drop is smaller than the 8.6% of 2008’s fourth, a Fed report says. The first-quarter data don’t include the recent market rally. Household debt crept up 1.1% after a 2% drop in last year’s fourth quarter.
Businesses appear to be handling their debt well. The financing gap—cash companies need to raise to pay for expenditures—settled at negative-$89.6 billion after rising to positive-$108.5 billion in the previous quarter. Federal debt continued to balloon—up 22.6%—as the government enacts business-rescue and stimulus plans, but that followed a 37% surge in the fourth quarter. State- and local-government debt rose 4.9% in the first quarter.