Americans must be wondering how much more of this “recovery” they can afford. New figures from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, compiled by Sentier Research, show that the typical American household’s real (inflation-adjusted) income has actually dropped 5.7 percent during the Obama “recovery.” Using constant 2012 dollars (to adjust for inflation), the median annual income of American households was $53,718 as of June 2009, the last month of the recession. Now, after 38 months of this “recovery,” it has fallen to $50,678 — a drop of $3,040 per household.
Yet it gets worse. Amazingly, incomes have dropped even more during the “recovery” than they did during the recession. In fact, they’ve dropped more than twice as much as they did during the recession. From the start to the end of the recession, the real median income of American households fell $1,413, or 2.6 percent. From the end of the recession to the present day, it has dropped $3,040, or 5.7 percent. This begs the question: What kind of “recovery” compares unfavorably with the recession from which it’s ostensibly recovering?
Two of the groups hit hardest have been ones that turned out in abundance for Obama in 2008: black Americans and younger Americans (those between the ages of 25 and 34). During the first three years of the Obama “recovery,” the real median household income for black Americans dropped a whopping 11.1 percent. For Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 — the group most apt, as Paul Ryan put it, to be “staring up at fading Obama posters” and looking to “get going with life” — real median household income dropped 8.9 percent.
Moreover, we’re still not headed in the right direction. Last month, American households’ real median annual income fell by another $543 — from $51,221 to $50,678. Sentier’s Gordon Green, former chief of the Governments Division at the Census Bureau, says, “This latest decline in real median annual household income is indicative of a struggling economy.” He adds that, while we are “technically” in a recovery, “real median annual household income is having a difficult time maintaining its present level, much less ‘recovering.’”
Similarly, the percentage of Americans who are employed has dropped during the Obama “recovery” — from 59.4 percent during the final month of the recession to just 58.3 percent last month. That’s according to the Obama administration’s own figures.
So, to recap, compared to the last month of the recession (in June 2009), the percentage of Americans who are employed has dropped 1.1 points, and typical Americans’ real annual household income has dropped $3,040. Who knew how good we had it back in the glory days of the Great Recession?
No wonder Obama says he’s running for reelection because he wants to realize “the future we imagined in 2008.” He can’t very well run on the reality we’re experiencing in 2012.