Who Isn’t Being Left Behind During the Economic Recovery?

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While the economy has been in recovery mode for the past several years, many groups have been said to be “left behind” — like essentially the entire middle class.

Last week, the Washington Post reported that based on a range of indicators, including average earnings, inflation, gas prices, jobs created, and unemployment rates, the “evidence remains strong that the recovery has done little to boost the fortunes of people in the vast economic middle.”

The middle class encompasses quite a lot of people. But it’s not the only demographic that’s been categorized as largely “left behind” during the course of the economic recovery that supposedly started when the recession ended four years ago. Among the other groups said to be not faring well as the economy rebounds:

Low-Wage Workers
A recently published study by the National Employment Law Project found that real median hourly wages declined for all workers by 2.8% from 2009 to 2012, while falling 5% or more in many low-wage occupations, including cooks, food preparation workers, home health aides, and maids and housekeepers.

(MORE: What It Means to Be ‘Wealthy’ in America Today)

Young (Aspiring) Homeowners
Since 2006, Americans in the 25- to 34-year-old age bracket experienced the largest decline in homeownership rates, according to a USA Today analysis of Census data. The homeownership rate for this group decreased from 46.7% to 39.7% from 2006 to 2011, compared to a drop of 2.7 percentage points overall. Those in the 35- to 44-year bracket saw the second highest decline, with homeownership falling 6.3 percentage points.

“Depleted confidence, high unemployment, student loan debt, poor credit, low inventory, competition with investors and stricter qualification standards,” are among the reasons USA Today cited for why fewer young adults are buying homes even as the housing market is said to be enjoying a recovery.

Older Workers
Long-term unemployment has plagued older Americans far more than other age groups. A Boston Globe story published earlier this year catalogued several cases of older professionals who have struggled with joblessness for extraordinarily long periods, citing data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicating that the number of Americans 45 and over who have been unemployed for more than a year had quadrupled since 2007.

(MORE: Are We Getting the Economic Recovery We Deserve?)

Inner City Teens
Earlier this summer, the jobless rate for teens in America was around 25%. Yet as a PBS reported noted, certain groups have a far higher likelihood of not being employed. The jobless rate for teenage African-American high school dropouts is probably around 95%.

African-American Women
In June 2013, the unemployment rate for African-American women was measured at 12%. That’s double the rate for white women (6%), and also higher than the unemployment rate for black women in June 2009, when the economic recovery began, according to reports.

Female Workers in General
Even as employment rates improved in late 2011, a Gallup poll indicated that there was a net job loss for women during the post-recession era, and that women were more likely to be unemployed (11%) and underemployed (22%) than men (8%, 17%). The data caused some observers to declare that women were being “left behind in the recovery.”

(MORE: Fewer Americans Will Work. What That Means for the Economy)

Women have since seen the employment situation improve, with unemployment rates recently hitting a four-year low, according to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Unfortunately, the NWLC also found that 60% of women’s job gains are for low-wage positions, compared to 20% of men’s new jobs.

25 comments
thesafesurfer
thesafesurfer

The first group being left behind in this economy are people who don't work for the government.

The second group left behind  in this economy are young people who can't find jobs, but are going to have to pay outrageously high premiums for medical insurance to support the baby boomers. 

The third group left behind in this economy are people who didn't buy too much house and pay their mortgages. 

The fourth group left behind in this economy are those people who are too young or too poor to invest in the stock market bubble inflated by four years of the Federal Reserve's monetary expansion. 

The fifth group left behind in this economy are people who want to start a business and make a living because government regulation and taxation has destroyed the environment for starting small businesses. 

1952rmdg
1952rmdg

Yes, despite the information in this article about how many different groups of workers, e.g., low wage workers, older workers, and inner city workers (aka black Americans) are being hurt in this economy, TIME's editors, op ed writers (e.g. Joe Klein), and reporters continue to write articles supporting the "comprehensive immigration" bill with its amnesty provisions, increases in H-1B and other work related visas, and higher legal immigration levels.  Even the Congressional Budget Office found that this bill will increase unemployment, particularly among these very groups, bring continued wage stagnation (again among these groups), and raise taxes for most Americans. 

What gives TIME?  Why do you persist in your support for this bill and its potential harm to these vary groups that this article notes are being hurt--is it that as part of the 1% you just do not care since your financial situation likely makes you immune from any of the problems that this bill will inflict on those at the lower end of the economic strata, and/or are you such shills for the Obama Administration and the open borders/amnesty lobby that the potential to create a one-party (i.e., Democratic Party) rule in perpetuity trumps all other considerations?

BillCarson
BillCarson

Hard to feel sorrow for the people who are unemployed but who voted for the socialists who control this country.  This country was built on capitalism but now wants a socialist who in the White House who dislikes being called a socialist.  I agree, he's probably a Communist.  So don't be surprised that we're in a never ending recession.  The American people voted for the recession when they thought Obama was going to give them something for nothing.

JohnBrown
JohnBrown

Suprise surprise.  5 years of Obama's anti-growth, anti-business, anti-jobs polices have given us the worst recovery, worst economic growth, and worst UNEMPLOYMENT for the longest period of time since the Great Depression.  Obama has been a complete and total disaster, especially for the African American Community.  What little growth we have folks is the result of record DEBT and record printing of Funny Money.  Things are bad and they are going to get worlse.  Obama and the Democrat are going to continue to destroy and damage our economy.  In 2014 remember that a vote for any Democrat is a vote for more UNEMPLOYMENT, More DEBT, and More Decline.

manapp99
manapp99

Which is why the Presidents tour to promote the middle class is puzzling. Clearly his economic policies have benefited the rich at the expense of the middle class. From bailouts for the banks to the auto bailout to green grants that went to wealthy donors the federal money doled out has gone to the rich. He is currently saying that he wants to grow the economy from the middle out but has no policies to do that. It is if he wants to portray himself as one of the middle class joining us in bitching about the rising economic inequality but putting forth no concrete measures to change anything. Democrats deride Reagan's trickle down economic approach but Obama has been doing exactly the same thing. 

Uncle_Frank
Uncle_Frank

This all began a few decades ago when that actor fellow became President and introduced this country to an economic system called "Reaganomics". Since then wages have stagnated for working people and the middle-class has all but disappeared. Welcome to the plutocracy where it only gets worse.

fbuckley401
fbuckley401

If I am not mistaken the recession started long before Obama took office. Bush gave enormous tax breaks to the wealthy, fought 2 wars off the books and ask no one to sacrifice. How stupid can those policies be? I agree with you that this country was built on capitalism but unfettered capitalism led to the Depression in the 1930s and the Recession of Bush's era. Additionally this country was built on the sweat of working men and women who had to fight and die for decent wages and working conditions. The barons of industry had no intention of ever giving such benefits to the working men. Thank God for Unions. As for your feeling sorry, no one wants it in any case.

SoSueme
SoSueme

@manapp99 You only display your complete ignorance and lack of understanding of all things economic If you attempt to liken Obama's policies to Reagan's.  They are in no way the same....they are night (Obama) and Morning in America (Reagan). 

BillCarson
BillCarson

@manapp99   Yes, but reading through the lines, it appears you voted for Obama--twice.  So you can't complain.  You got what you voted for.

SoSueme
SoSueme

@Uncle_Frank What absolute balderdash!  Reagan's policies jump-started a stagnant and faltering  economy; an economy brought to you by ignorant democrats and the chief ignoramus, Jimmy Carter.  That economy and its growth lasted for decades until the ignorant democrats once again brought it to its knees!  

BillCarson
BillCarson

@Uncle_Frank   I was poor before Reagan, but by the end of the first Bush term, I was in great shape financially.

BillHelene
BillHelene

@Uncle_Frank - Really? My income and that of all of of my peers kept going up from our job market entry in the mid-80s until we started "necessarily" "asking each other" to pay more for energy in 2009. Then it was layoffs galore, no raises, cut hours. Now we're logging more food stamp recipients than new jobs. This country's model for prosperity was established and cast in place with cheap energy as a primary fulcrum. $4+ gasoline changed all of that ... a lot more than anything Reagan did 30 years ago. Wake up.

manapp99
manapp99

@fbuckley401 Actually the recession started a year after the Democrats took over the congress and declared Bush a lame duck. Obama came along and made things worse. The biggest revenue loss incurred by the Bush tax cuts are those that the middle class and poor enjoy and the Democrats support. The wars were not off the books they were mixed in with the defense budget and ironically we are spending more now that we are only fighting the war Obama championed then we were fight the two that Bush started. The elite in the government have no intention of rebuilding the middle class as they get there financing from the wealthy. 

Uncle_Frank
Uncle_Frank

@SoSueme @Uncle_Frank 
Yup, another Kool-Aid drinker that can't dispute the facts. Your Uncle Reagan got the ball rolling to create the largest transfer of wealth in human history. The ability to save and have a quality of life for the middle-class has gone down the drain in the past three decades.

Khadijah
Khadijah

@Uncle_Frank @truth2power @SoSueme Gee, maybe Obama ought to stop bragging about how's he's bringing down the deficit, huh?

It's amusing to watch the Dims attacking austerity then claiming credit for it when the deficit comes down. 

Khadijah
Khadijah

@Uncle_Frank @SoSueme 

Here are the facts:

1) Real hourly wage in the US peaked in 1974, well before Reagan

2) Median income in the US rose 11.5% under Reagan, meaning that ALL income brackets benefitted. (If only the rich benefitted, the median wouldn't have moved, or even declined as it is today)

3) Unemployment declined from double digits to 4.5%. 

4) GDP was up markedly

5) Inflation rates dropped from double digts down to about 4%

6) Mortgage rates declined from 15% to about 9%. 

7) The Dow was up 157%. 

8) The effective taxation rate under Reagan was largely unchanged from Carter to the end of Reagan's term. His tax package was revenue neutral. All tax brackets experienced a SLIGHT decrease in their taxes. 

I don't know where you get your information from, but the "transfer of wealth" thing is a myth. That would require the lower income brackets to get poorer, which didn't happen during the Reagan years. 

If youre interested in what really happened, the explanation as to why inequality increased is rather simple. Prior to the Reagan package, rates for upper middle class and the upper class were outasight.; so, the government authorized "tax shelters" which were crappy investments that the government wanted money to be put into for various reasons. People would invest their money at 2 or 3 %, but in doing so they would lower their AGI so that they paid about a 22% effective tax rate instead of 30,40,50, or even more. So, that 2 or 3% PLUS the money saved by lowering the AGI added up to a good return on the investment. (BUT, that's very inefficient)

Reagan lowered the marginal rates and did away with the shelters. So that money that the upper middle and uppers PREVIOUSLY had put into the shelters went out looking for something better to invest in; it went into the stock market first, and then into venture capital for the first round of high tech startups (Sun Micro, et al). 

So, yes, the rich got richer, but it was because they had disposable cash to invest, while the lower brackets did not. 

Uncle_Frank
Uncle_Frank

@truth2power @Uncle_Frank @SoSueme 
LOL. It's the Ayn Randers and Austrian School of Economics austerity fools that have done this country in. Oh well, more power to the Wall Street prostitutes.

truth2power
truth2power

@Uncle_Frank @SoSueme 

Kool-Aid drinker?!  LOL!  One hundred years of failed progressive, authoritarian, radical leftists, liberal, communist, socialist, whatever you people are calling yourselves these days and your welfare state have brought the once greatest nation on the face of the earth to it's knees and all you can do is dribble on about Ronald Reagan, perhaps the greatest president of the 20the century?  Isn't it time for the old folks home your in to divvy out the meds?



jdahunt
jdahunt

@Uncle_Frank...so shouldn't you be upset with Obama because under his policies the rich are getting much richer and the poor are getting much poorer...why is that???

truth2power
truth2power

@Uncle_Frank @BillHelene 

And we all know that the way to get this economy moving is  high energy prices, out of control federal regulations and spending, anti freedom, anti private property, anti constitution, anti small business, anti right to work, and pro big labor and crony capitalist policies.  LOL!  You can't make this stuff up, listening to a leftists, communist, socialist, talk economics is like listening to uncle frank talk about brain surgery!  LOL!