Two years after the "official" end of the Great Recession, the U.S. Economy continues to struggle as many Americans believe the Recession has not ended. 55% think that the recession remains, while 29% believe it feels more like a depression! The recovery has been the weakest and the most lopsided of any since the 1930's.
In previous recessions, people in all income groups have benefited in the recovery; not so in this one. This time, the middle class Americans are still struggling with job security, too much debt and the absence of pay increases to keep up with inflation. The economy's gains are going to the wealthiest individuals. A large amount of the monies have gone to investors in the form of higher corporate profits.
Corporate profits are up by almost half since the recession ended in June 2009, where the typical CEO of a major company earned $9 million last year; up 25% from 2009. Driven by high profits, the Dow Jones industrial average has rallied 90% since bottoming at 6,547 in March, 2009. The stock market gains typically benefits the top 10% of the population.
Here are some disturbing facts:
Unemployment has never been so high this long after the end of a recession since World War II.
The average worker's hourly wages after accounting for inflation are 1.6% lower in May than a year ago.
The jobs that are being created pay less than the ones that vanished in the recession.
A record 18% of Americans are dependent on social programs with 45 millions people on food stamps.
The average household debts equal 119 percent of annual after-tax income.
Americans are industrious and hopeful, yet it is going to take a long time for a solid recovery and a positive change in lifestyle, for many. My advice is to continue to learn new skills, limit expenses and gain more education/training to increase your value in the marketplace. Place pressure on your elected officials to help institute positive changes in government policies that will actually help the middle class, instead of just raise our taxes!