Monday, October 10, 2011

Household incomes in the United States dropped more in the two years after the recession supposedly ended than during it

Household income in the United States fell by 6.7% between June 2009, when the recession officially ended, and June 2011, according to a study by two former US Census Bureau officials. The study also found that household income fell 3.2% during the recession from December 2007 to June 2009. Authors of the report, Gordon W. Green Jr and John F. Coder, described the slump as a significant reduction in the American standard of living. The full 9.8% drop in income from the start of the recession to June 2011 is found to be the largest in several decades, according to other Census Bureau data. That reduction occurred even though the unemployment rate fell just slightly to 9.2% in June 2011 compared with 9.5% two years earlier. The main reasons cited that have stopped salaries increasing in the study are that the number of people not working or not job seeking has risen. The rate of pay per hour of employed people has also failed to keep pace with inflation, as prices of oil and food have inched higher. Green and Coder, who both worked at the Census Bureau for more than 25 years also found that income declined substantially for households headed by people under age 62, but rose 4.7% for homes headed by those aged 65 to 74 who were not working. Family households generally saw greater drops in income than other households, and men living alone experienced a bigger decline than women living alone. The type of employment also made a difference, the study showed. Incomes dropped by 4.3% in households headed by private-sector wage workers and 3.9% for government-sector workers. Self-employed people were hit hardest with a 12.3% decline. In a separate study, Henry S. Farber, an economics professor at Princeton University in New Jersey, found that people who lost jobs in the recession and later found work again made an average of 17.5% less than they had in their old jobs. Farber says that he does not think the recession has ended and people who have lost jobs are having more trouble than ever before finding new ones. He said that this downturn was fundamentally different from previous ones. In the recession, the average length of time a person who lost a job was unemployed increased to 24.1 weeks in June 2009, from 16.6 weeks in December 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the end of the recession, that figure has continued to increase, reaching 40.5 weeks in September 2011.

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