- Two recent studies documented it, both discussed below.
In May 2011, Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies
(NECLMS) headlined, "The 'Jobless and Wageless' Recovery from the
Great Recession of 2007 - 2009: The Magnitude and Sources of Economic Growth
Through 2011 (Q I) and Their Impacts on Workers, Profits, and Stock Values."
- From 2007 - 2009, private sector wages and salaries declined
sharply, while unemployment, underemployment, and their median and mean
- According to the National Bureau of Economic Research
(NBER: the official US business cycle arbiter), the recession ended in
June 2009. Public opinion polls sharply disagree. Two by ABC in May and
June 2010 found 88 - 90% of respondents rating the economy "not so
good" or "poor." They should know. They feel it.
- A May 2010 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed 76% of
respondents saying America's recession continued, 62% believing it wouldn't
end for one or more years. Hardly a testimony to "recovery."
- In November 2010, a Heldrich Center for Workforce Development
study found 89% of respondents saying the economy wouldn't recover for
another year or longer, and 56% said three years, if ever. Moreover, almost
90% believed healthy employment levels would take many years to achieve
or perhaps never.
- In March 2011, an AP/Viacom poll of 18 - 24 year olds
found 75% calling the economy "approximately poor, somewhat poor,
or very poor." Only 9% said it was "very good or somewhat good."
- Despite NBER's declaration, US households disagree with
good reason because they're unemployed, underemployed, underpaid, living
through hard times, and see little assistance from Washington or state
capitals helping them when it's most needed.
- For them, the Great Recession, in fact, is a Great Depression,
perhaps America's greatest given dire levels of growing misery for millions.
- Moreover, those hardest hit include Blacks, Hispanics,
young workers under 30, high school dropouts, others with no college degree,
and those in construction, retail, hospitality and accommodation, and business
- In fact, "(t)he tepid recovery from the 2007 - 09
recession through (Q I 2011) marks the first time in post-World War II
history that civilian employment as measured by the" Current Population
Survey (CPS) "failed to register any net growth seven quarters following
the end of the recession."
- As a result, real unemployment as measured in the 1980s
tops 22%, not the manipulated Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 9.1% headline
figure. Wages have also stagnated or declined, and benefits are eroding.
- In fact, "the overwhelming beneficiary of (rising)
national income generated by labor productivity (worker output per unit
of time, benefitting employers not them) was corporate (pre-tax) profits"
at the expense of workforces.
- From 2009 Q II through 2010, real US national income
rose $528 billion. Pre-tax corporate profits alone increased $464 billion
(88% of real national income) while aggregate real wages and salaries rose
only $7 billion or 1%, despite double-digit inflation, not the manipulated
BLS 3.6% CPI in the previous 12 months, excluding or underweighting food,
energy, transportation, rent, college tuitions, and other sharply rising
- The study concluded that America's "recovery"
is "both jobless and wageless," stressing workers as hard times
- Economic Policy Institute's (EPI) "State of Working
- Since 1988, EPI published it annually, including data
on household incomes, wages, jobs, unemployment, wealth, and poverty. Notably
it said from 1948 - 1979, one third of average income growth went to America's
- However, from 1979 - 2007, the richest 10% got 91% of
average income growth, an unprecedented disparity still widening as working
households experience deepening hard times with no relief in sight because
policy initiatives demand greater sacrifices when massive social spending
is required to relieve need.
- Like NECLMS' study, EPI called the "highly unequal"
distribution of wealth (including wages and incomes) one of its study's
"most salient points." Specific findings included the following:
- Wealth destruction from 2007 - 2009, was disproportionately
experienced by 80% of Americans.
- The average net worth of America's wealthiest 1% was
225 greater than the median 2009 household net worth - the highest ratio
- In 2009, about 25% of US households had zero or negative
net worth. For Black households, it was 40%. Their median net worth was
$2,200, "the lowest ever recorded" compared to Whites at $97,900.
- In 2009, America's 20% richest controlled 87.2% of all
wealth. The top 1% controlled 35.6%.
- In 2009 dollars, median household wealth fell from $71,900
in 1983 to $62,200 in 2009 while America's richest got richer.
- In 2009, the Forbes top 400 wealth averaged $3.2 billion
- 523% higher than 1982. Their collective net worth was $1.3 trillion.
Today it's greater.
- "In the foreseeable future, there is no reason to
believe that the large and increasingly wider disparities in wealth holdings
will change or reverse direction." The imbalance, in fact, almost
certainly will get greater as America's wealthy prosper while poverty overall
- During the "Great Recession," 8.4 million jobs
were lost, and long-term unemployment and underemployment registered record
- Because of the deepening housing depression, home equity
as a percent of property value fell from 59.5% in 2006 Q I to 36.2% in
2009 Q IV. "For the first time on record, the percent of home value
(owned outright by homeowners) dropped below 50% - meaning that banks now
own more of the nation's housing stock than people do." Moreover,
one-fourth of mortgage holders are under water because of rising debt and
- Homeowners' equity as a percent of home value fell from
around 70% in the early 1970s to 36.2% in Q I 2009.
- The most recent data beyond this study's timeline show
an even greater decline. According to the Case-Shiller index, today's housing
crisis exceeds the Great Depression. Still declining valuations have fallen
33% compared to 31% from the late 1920s to the 1930s' bottom. Nonetheless,
housing prices remain high by historical standards, suggesting more to
the downside, perhaps much more without nowhere in sight remedial help.
- EPI concluded that recovery "has yet to bring substantial
relief to those suffering" from an economic crisis showing no signs
of ebbing. Growing evidence, in fact, suggests much greater trouble ahead,
what some observers call America's Greatest Depression, a condition with
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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