Friday, August 24, 2012

Obama's America: American incomes declined more in the three-year "expansion" that started in June 2009 than during the longest recession since the Great Depression, according an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by Sentier Research LLC

Median household income fell 4.8% on an inflation-adjusted basis since the recession supposedly ended in June 2009, more than the 2.6% drop during the 18-month contraction, the research firm’s Gordon Green and John Coder wrote in a report. Household income is 7.2% below the December 2007 level, the former Census Bureau economic statisticians wrote. “Almost every group is worse off than it was three years ago, and some groups had very large declines in income,” said Green, who previously directed work on the Census Bureau’s income and poverty statistics program. “We’re in an unprecedented period of economic stagnation.” While gains in hourly earnings and average hours worked per week may have had “a minor mitigating effect” on income declines, they couldn’t offset a jobless rate that hasn’t fallen below 8% since February 2009 and a record duration of unemployment, according to the Annapolis, Maryland-based firm. The average duration of unemployment increased to a record 41 weeks in November 2011 and remains at 39 weeks, Labor Department data show. Almost 5.2 million Americans have been out of work for at least six months. Men living alone experienced the worst drop in income, losing 9.4%, while married couples fared best with a 3.6% decline, the report shows. “Median annual household income declined significantly for both family and non-family households,” Green and Coder wrote. “Real median annual household income declined more significantly for younger households.” Incomes for those 55 to 64 fell the most, losing 9.7%, followed by the 8.9% decline for 25- to 34-year-olds. By education, Americans with some college lost the most, with incomes falling 9.3%, followed by an 8.6% slump for those with associate degrees, the report said. Those without high school degrees lost the least, falling 5.3%. Green is a former chief of the governments division at the Census Bureau, the report said. Coder was chief of the Income Statistics Branch at the bureau, where he oversaw collection and processing of income data and developed new survey methods.

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