The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank in the first quarter, according to gross domestic product data released on April 28, 2022. While the reasons were technical and weren’t seen as signs of weakness, they add to worries that the U.S. might be headed for another recession as the Federal Reserve seeks to fight inflation by raising interest rates.
But before we fret too much about what 2022 will bring, I believe, as a financial economist who studies the decisions people and companies make with money and the resulting impacts, it’s worth reflecting on 2021, which saw the strongest economic growth in almost four decades.
GDP, which provides a snapshot of the economy by measuring the total value of all goods and services consumers produce and exchange, surged 5.7% in 2021 after accounting for inflation, the fastest pace since 1984.
So who benefited from all this growth?
Record gains in American net worth
A useful way to…