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U.S. median income worsens following the Great Recession

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Apparently no one notified the folks in charge of the Great Recession, that supposedly ended in 2009, that things were suppose to improve. However, U.S. household median income fell to $50,054 in 2011 from the end of the Great Recession when the median income of households was $52,195 (each figure measured in 2011 dollars). This according to the Pew Research Center. That equates to a 4.1 percent decline in household income.


Now that’s a bit discouraging to those who have jobs and have not continued to wallow around in the recession’s aftermath of unemployment.

Here’s a big surprise: “The decrease in household income from 2009 to 2011 almost exactly equaled the decrease in income in the two years of the recession. During the Great Recession, the median U.S. household income (in 2011 dollars) dropped from $54,489 in 2007 to $52,195 in 2009, a loss of 4.2 percent,” Pew stated in a report released Sept. 12. “By this yardstick, the recovery from the Great Recession is bypassing the nation’s households.”

How then, can the government declare that the recession ended in 2009, when a decline in household income was still in place two years following the end date? Well, apparently this is not a new phenomenon. Following the 1990-91 and 2001 recessions median household income in the U.S. were saddled with lingering losses when income fell by 1.3 percent in the two years following the recessions’ end. However, those losses were less than half Pew found in the post-Great Recessions’ two years.

In the 1973 to 1975 recession, income fell by 5.7 percent. However, after that recession it rose 2.3 percent in the first two years following the recessions’ end.

Conclusion: We’re still technically in a recessive mode. Things are not better for many and 2009 was not the end date for this recession. I don’t believe we’ve seen its end point.

Keith Hansen