Incomes Have Fallen Farther During ‘Recovery’ Than During Actual Recession


Americans’ actual household incomes have fallen more than twice as far during the post-recession “recovery” of the past four years than they fell during the recession itself.

That’s the conclusion of Maryland-based Sentier Research, a data-analysis company led by former Census Bureau officials. Analyzing the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, Sentier estimated that Americans’ median household annual income has cumulatively fallen by an inflation-adjusted 4.4 percent during the recovery period from June 2009 to June 2013. During the recession period, median income fell by 1.8 percent.

In real money, that means an American household is now, on average, bringing in about $2,400 per year less today than when the economic recovery started.

Released Wednesday, the report finds that annual median household income, which stands at $52,098, reached a low point in August of 2011. The current number remains 6.1 percent beneath where it stood in December of 2007 and 7.2 percent beneath inflation-adjusted median income in January of 2000.

To no one’s surprise, it’s the middle class that’s felt the biggest squeeze. As Michael A. Fletcher noted last week in The Washington Post:

Median income, which economists view as a key marker for the well-being of the middle class, is lagging across education levels and racial groups, the report said. Analysts said the report also reflects the increasing economic polarization apparent in other data.

… So far in the current recovery, median incomes are defying efforts by Americans to improve their workforce skills, according to the report, compiled by analyzing data from the Census Bureau’s monthly Current Population Survey. Income is down even though the number of households headed by people who report having a college degree is up sharply since the end of the recession, according to the report.

Importantly, these income tallies include government payouts such as unemployment compensation and cash welfare, an indicator that “[President Barack] Obama’s method of funneling ever-more money and power to Washington, and then selectively divvying some of it back out, clearly isn’t working for the typical American family,” as the Weekly Standard observed. It clearly isn’t working for black households either, which have cumulatively experienced a 10.9 percent drop in their median annual incomes since Obama’s “recovery” began.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Doc Sarvis

    As I’ve said before, the top 1-2% are making out quite well and accepting the redistribution of wealth into their laps.

    • Michael Shreve

      PLEASE stop the class warfare nonsense. A rising tide lifts all boats.

      • Doc Sarvis

        I agree, stop the class warfare on the middle class.

  • Bill

    This is a good example of the lefts failed economic policies.

  • Michael Shreve

    MORE proof tat the “recovery” is just a continuation of the DEPRESSION.

  • BHR

    We will never have a vibrant economy until the government removes thousands of laws and rules made by government legislatures, agencies and the president. There are so many restrictions on businesses they cannot function. Businesses have tax laws, employment laws, environmental laws, building and zoning laws, laws for employees, now healthcare laws, and accounting laws. If they deal with other states or have businesses in other states the laws from state to state change. Then if you ship products, shipping laws. America has driven its company’s over seas, now they even want to tax over sea company’s, which no other country does. Why would any body want to start a business in America today with all the restrictions and then deal with with American workers who think they are special and deserve more than other country’s workers!

    Liberals have been saying nothing but bad things about American company’s for years, accusing them of every thing possible. So liberals are getting their wishes, the company’s are leaving and taking jobs. Company’s do not need American workers but workers need the company’s.