Household Incomes Stabilize for First Time Since 2007

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 10:13 AM

By Courtney Coren

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Family incomes stabilized last year for the first time since the Great Recession began in 2007, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report. It's considered a good measure of trends in American prosperity.

The report, released Tuesday, says the inflation-adjusted median annual household income dropped a statistically insignificant 0.2 percent in 2012 to $51,017, an improvement compared to the 1.5 percent drop in 2011 and the 2.6 percent decrease in 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"The bleeding has stopped, I suppose, but incomes have yet to increase," Richard Fry, an economist at the Pew Research Center, told the Journal. "Asset prices are rising, but when we look out at Main Street, at what households are getting, there isn't much growth."

The recovery still has a way to go because incomes still are 8.3 percent below the $55,627 level they were when the recession began in 2007.

The Journal noted that while the recovery is slow, the fact that incomes have at least stabilized is a good sign for the economy overall, along with the rally in stocks and rebounding real estate prices.

Still, with more than 11 million people still looking for work, businesses are not very motivated to increase wages. Further complicating matters, is the fact that most recent job growth has occurred in lower-paying areas of the economy.

The Census report also revealed that the nation's poverty rate is unchanged at 15 percent, still significantly higher than the pre-recession level of 12.5 percent.


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