October 31, 2011; Source: Wall Street Journal | At least the Wall Street Journal believes that an economic recovery is underway. But the statistics the WSJ provides make the recovery a long way off. Here are some key benchmarks from the article that feel recessionary to us:
- Median household income declined 3.2 percent between 2007 and 2009, down to $53,518, but declined another 6.7 percent to $49,909 between June 2009 and June 2011.
- “(T)he income of the typical American household, adjusted for inflation and in 2011 dollars, has dropped well below the January 2000 level ($55,836)”
- One out of every five homeowners with a mortgage is “underwater,” that is, they owe more on their mortgage loans than their homes are worth.
- “As of June , home prices were 10.1% below mid-2009 levels.”
- Unemployment hasn’t budged below 9.1 percent for some months now, and half of the unemployed have been so for at least six months.
- Between June 2009 and June 2011, the value of an education has plummeted in terms of earning potentials: households headed by people with two-year associate degrees saw their incomes decline 11.2 percent, and households with a head of household with a bachelor’s degree fell 5.9 percent.
Some economists think that these lousy benchmarks represent a bottoming-out of the economy rather than a continuing slide downward but that may be hard to see from lower down I guess.—Rick Cohen