President Barack Obama touts the “longest streak of private-sector job growth on record” as part of the White House's portrayal
of the economic recovery since the recession ended in 2009.
While the U.S. has added jobs for 76 straight months, the economy is dragging as consumers fall back into debt to maintain their living standards, says columnist Paul Brandus at MarketWatch
“Household debt in absolute terms is rapidly approaching levels not seen since the you-know-what hit the fan in 2008. At the end of the first quarter of this year, American households owed $12.25 trillion,” he writes, citing Federal Reserve data. “That’s up 1.1 percent from Dec. 31 — a pace outstripping anemic wage gains.”
With the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates near record lows of less than 0.5 percent, consumers have every incentive to borrow. The biggest worry is that borrowers will have trouble making payments on that debt if a recession hurts incomes and the job market.
“There are millions of Americans who have never really recovered,” according to Brandus, pointing to Census data that show median household income
peaked at $57,843 in 1999, compared with $57,367 this year.
“Real wages one percent lower after 17 years: literally a lost generation,” he says. “So again, I ask: what recovery? And what happens if things sputter further, or turn into a new recession?”
© 2023 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.