The average household earns less today than when the recession officially ended in 2009, according to a new report from Sentier Research. Median household income has fallen 4.4 percent in that time, adjusted for inflation, from $54,478 in June 2009 to $52,098 in June 2013.
The report tracked income against unemployment, showing that even as unemployment has fallen (in grey) income hasn’t seen much of a recovery (red):
The problem goes back even further for most Americans, however. A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute showed that American workers have seen a “lost decade” without any wage growth at all, even though their productivity has increased nearly 25 percent in that time.
But the trend has been concentrated at the bottom of the income scale, with the richest of the rich continuing to pull away from everyone else. Income inequality has skyrocketed during the recession, and the top 10 percent of the income distribution had nearly 16 times the income of those at the bottom 10 percent in 2010. But that was just an acceleration of a thirty-year trend in which the incomes of the richest 20 percent of Americans grew far faster than the bottom 20 percent. CEO pay, for example, has increased 127 times faster than that of the average worker since the 1970s.