Jack Kelly | For Most Of Us, There’s No “Recovery”

Jack Kelly, Real Clear Politics:

From 1820 through 2000, real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product grew at an average annual rate of 3.6 percent. Last year was the ninth consecutive year in which the economy grew less than 3 percent.

Real GDP has grown 13.6 percent since the recovery officially began in June 2009. The average rate of growth at this point in the recoveries from the four recessions since 1975 was 21.9 percent.

If it weren’t for gains made by the well off, there wouldn’t be a “recovery.” Five years after it began, the top 1 percent of earners (more than $366,623 a year) had garnered 81 percent of its fruits. The incomes of the top one-tenth of 1 percent (about $8 million a year) grew 39 percent.

The incomes of the bottom 90 percent declined, according to University of California-Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez. Real median household income was $54,417 in December, 5.1 percent lower than in January 2008 ($57,317).

Most of us get nearly all our income from our jobs. Only 44 percent of adults work 30 hours or more a week, according to Gallup’s survey of the work force. Ten million fewer are working now than when Barack Obama became president.

It took until last March to create as many new jobs as were lost during the Great Recession. For every person who’s found a job, two have left the labor force.

Few new jobs are as good as those lost. In 2012, men working full-time year round earned less (in inflation-adjusted dollars) than they did in 1973, Businessweek said.

About 7.3 million Americans work part time because they can’t find a full-time job. Roughly 25 percent of involuntary part-time workers live in poverty, according to University of New Hampshire Prof. Rebecca Glauber.


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