October 11, 2011

Workers’ incomes plummet during the Obama “recovery” As the anti-Wall Street protests against social inequality and the tyranny of the financial oligarchy spread across the US, a new study released Monday documents the devastating decline in working class living standards over the past four years. The study, authored by two former US Census Bureau officials, concludes that inflation-adjusted median household income plunged 9.8 percent from December 2007, the official start of the recession, to June of 2011. Moreover, household income fell more than twice as rapidly during the Obama “recovery,” which began in June of 2009, than during the 18 months of official recession. According to authors Gordon W. Green Jr. and John F. Coder, median real household income fell 3.2 percent during the official recession, a dramatic decline, but one far surpassed by the additional 6.7 percent drop between June 2009 and June of this year. Calling the nearly 10 percent decline over a three-and-a-half year period “a significant reduction in the American standard of living,” the report notes that while wage gains outpaced inflation during the recession itself, wages failed to keep pace with inflation during the so-called “recovery.” (The report is available at www.sentierresearch.com and a graph here). Green and Coder attribute the sharp fall in household income for the majority of Americans largely to continued mass unemployment. The New York Times, in a front-page article on their report Monday, notes the staggering increase in the average duration of joblessness. When the recession was said to have begun in December 2007, the figure was...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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