WASHINGTON (1/4/16)--The median household income in the United States finally returned to its pre-recession level in November, according to a new report based on Census Department data.
Sentier Research found that the median household income rose to $56,746 in November (MarketWatch Dec. 29). That’s just higher than the median income seen in December 2007--the start of the recession--when it reached $56,688.
The period since the recession “has been marked by an uneven, but generally upward trend in the level of real median annual household income,” wrote Gordon Green and John Coder, economists for Sentier Research (MarketWatch).
Unfortunately, the recovery in income isn’t as robust as the milestone might indicate.
The median household income only has climbed 1.9% since June 2009, and it remains 1.1% behind the median seen back in January 2000, when the Census Department began tracking the data.
Furthermore, average weekly earnings sit only 5% higher than where the average stood when the recession began.
Still, Green and Coder maintain their optimism over the direction of income growth. With the unemployment rate falling to 5% over the course of 2015, and the median duration of unemployment dropping to 10.8 weeks from roughly double that number, incomes are poised to rise.
Sentier noted that in past economic cycles, a tighter labor market has fueled wage growth.