Household Income Today Is Lower Than It Was During The Recession

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A new Pew poll spearheaded by economist Rakesh Kochhar shows the median American income is now lower than it was during the recession.In 2009, the year the Great Recession ended, the median income of U.S. households had been $52,195 (in 2011 dollars). Thus, in the two years since the end of the recession, median household income has fallen by 4.1%.

The decrease in household income from 2009 to 2011 almost exactly equaled the decrease in income in the two years of the recession.

Here’s the graph showing how unprecedented this is:


Photo: Pew

The reason, Kochhar writes, is likely because the full extent of job losses hadn’t peaked during the recession.

The malaise in income, poverty and wealth in part reflects the weak performance of the U.S. labour market. The share of families with at least one unemployed member nearly doubled during the Great Recession and remains at a high level. In 2007, 6.3% of the nation’s families had at least one unemployed member. That share jumped to 12.0% in 2009 and declined modestly to 11.5% in 2011.

Perhaps most disappointing in the report is the extent of wealth destruction.

The latest available estimates from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System show that median household wealth fell from $131,016 in 2007 to $79,431 in 2010, a loss of 39%.

Kocchar concludes:

Overall, on the basis of some indicators, such as income and poverty, the economic health of American families deteriorated further in the first two years of the recovery from the Great Recession. Other indicators, such as unemployment, showed minimal improvement, if any. Much like an unwelcome dinner guest who does not know when it is time to leave, the Great Recession seems blissfully unaware that it was declared over in June 2009.  

SEE MORE — 11 Terrifying Facts About Poverty In America

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