Last week it was reported that U.S. consumer sentiment in May was at its highest level in 6 years. As an average, this appears good news. An increasing average does not mean that conditions have improved for most people though.
Credit Suisse points out that while consumer sentiment is surging among those in upper income households, the lower income bracket is lagging behind. The recovery of wealth has not been uniform across families. Of the total recovery of $14.7 trillion between the first quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2012, $9.1 trillion, or 62%, of the gain was due to higher stock market wealth. Stock wealth is unevenly held, with the vast majority of stocks owned by a relatively small number of wealthy families.