Free Markets, Free People

household income

Indicators: Household income drops to levels below that of the recession

Another sign or indicator of how the upcoming Presidential election may go may be found in the level of household income.  It’s down.  In fact it is down to below the levels it had fallen during the recession.

Household income is down sharply since the recession ended three years ago, according to a report released Thursday, providing another sign of the stubborn weakness of the economic recovery.

From June 2009 to June 2012, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 4.8 percent to $50,964, according to a report by Sentier Research, a firm headed by two former Census Bureau executives.

Incomes have dropped more since the beginning of the recovery than they did during the recession itself, when they declined 2.6 percent, according to the report, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The recession, the most severe since the Great Depression, lasted from December 2007 to June 2009.

Overall, median income is 7.2 percent below its December 2007 level and 8.1 percent below where it stood in January 2000, which was at $55,470, according to the report.

Of course, being an average, the impact has been both far reaching and deep.  That means personal.  We’re not discussing some esoteric issue that seems more abstract than real or some policy which may never effect voters.   We’re talking about their family’s income, what they take home, the means by which they support their family.

This drop speaks to millions of jobs lost, those who have found jobs likely to be under employed, belt tightening among households to get by.

If someone asked the question, “are you better off now than you were 4 years ago”, the answer for a very large portion of America would be “no”.

The next question then, maybe not asked out loud, but certainly considered is: “are you willing to give the President 4 more years considering what has or hasn’t been accomplished this 4 years?”

Again, other than the ideologues and the yellow-dog voters, that’s a question a vast majority will answer when they pull the curtain on the voting booth.  Given history and the indicators we keep seeing, I believe the answer to that question is also going to be “no”.


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