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US minted more millionaires in 2009

business Updated: Mar 10, 2010 14:23 IST

America's millionaires are on the rise again after their ranks thinned out during the 2008 market meltdown, according to a new survey.

US households worth $1 million or more grew to 7.8 million in 2009, up 16 percent from 2008, according to the survey from Spectrem Group, a Chicago-based market research and consulting firm, released on Tuesday.

The firm's report also found that the number of ultra high-net-worth households, worth $5 million or more, jumped 17 percent to 980,000.

"This is largely attributed to the stock market rebound, since other assets including real estate and private businesses have not rebounded as dramatically," CNNMoney cited George H. Walper, Jr., president of Spectrem Group as saying.

The report comes one year to the day after the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at 12-year lows in the thick of the financial crisis, CNNMoney noted.

The market drop sent the number of millionaires plummeting 27 percent in 2008, according to Spectrem. Even now, the number of millionaires is still well below the all-time high of 9.2 million in 2007.

The Dow is up 61 percent in the past 12 months. Despite the market's rebound, Walper said the influential millionaires group, which controls about 70 percent of total US assets and includes key corporate executives and small business owners, is still concerned about a prolonged economic downturn.

"They'd like to see unemployment in the six percent to seven percent range before they feel confident that the economy is fully rebounding," Walper was quoted as saying.

The Affluent Market Insights 2010 report is a compilation of monthly research conducted in 2009. Spectrem surveyed over 6,100 affluent households throughout the year.