Posts Tagged ‘chart’

Chart of the day

Posted: 1 September 2014 in Uncategorized
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As Danielle Kurtzleben explains,

the median household’s net worth fell from $106,591 to $68,839 from 2005 to 2011. . .

the median net worth of the top 20 percent divided by the median of the second 20 percent was 39.8 in 2000. Today, it’s 86.8.

In addition, the latter group lost nearly 56 percent of its wealth. And the overall wealth of the bottom 20 percent fell from -$915 to -$6,029. Or, put another way, the median American in that poorest group saw their debt increase more than 6 and a half fold.

Chart of the day

Posted: 31 August 2014 in Uncategorized
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According to Gallup’s latest annual Work and Education Survey [ht: db],

Adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week, almost a full workday longer than what a standard five-day, 9-to-5 schedule entails. In fact, half of all full-time workers indicate they typically work more than 40 hours, and nearly four in 10 say they work at least 50 hours.

That’s because salaried employees work longer hours than hourly workers (49 vs. 44 hours per week, respectively) and because many workers are being forced to take on more than one job (12 percent of full-time workers have two jobs, and 1 percent have three or more). However, even restricting the analysis to full-time workers who have only one job, the average number of hours worked is 46—still well over 40.

The excessive number of hours worked is a real boon to U.S. employers—not so much for American workers. Consider this: more than 9 million people are officially unemployed in the United States and half of American workers who have managed to find and keep their jobs are being forced to stay on the job more than the standard number of hours per week.

Happy Labor Day!

profits

The Wall Street Journal reported today that U.S. corporations “posted record profits during the second quarter.”

After-tax corporate profits, without inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments, rose 6% from the first quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.840 trillion—after two consecutive quarters of declining profits. Profits last quarter were up 4.5% from a year earlier. Thursday’s report included the first profit estimates, which aren’t adjusted for inflation, for the second quarter. . .

As a share of nominal GDP, corporate profits rose last quarter but fell short of an all-time high.

Profits hit a record 10.7% of GDP in the third quarter of 2013, slipping to 10.5% in the fourth quarter and 10.2% in the first quarter. They totaled 10.6% of GDP in the second quarter.

At the same time, consumer spending declined in July. Why?

On the surface, the weak spending figures appear at odds with accelerating job creation. The last six months saw the strongest stretch of payroll gains since 2006. Underpinning those gains, however, was hiring in low-wage fields such as restaurants, retailers and temporary jobs. At the same time, a historically high number of Americans aren’t participating in the labor force or are working part time but would prefer a full-time job. . .

“Higher wages have been slow to appear and gains in the stock market are not enjoyed by all,” said Chris Christopher, an Global Insight economist. “More widespread income gains are needed to get all consumers back on solid footing.”

In other words, it’s still a tale of two recoveries: the best of times for corporate profits, the worst of times for the vast majority of the population.

hourly wages-1979-2013

According to the Economic Policy Institute [pdf],

For all but the highest earners, hourly wages have either stagnated or declined since 1979 (with the exception of a period of strong across-the-board wage growth in the late 1990s). Median hourly wages rose just 6.1 percent (or 0.2 percent annually) between 1979 and 2013, compared with a decline of 5.3 percent (or -0.2 percent annually) for the 10th percentile worker (i.e., the worker who earns more than only 10 percent of workers). Over the same period, the 95th percentile worker saw growth of 40.6 percent, for an annual gain of 1.0 percent.

During that same period, productivity in the U.S. economy grew 64.9 percent.

annual wages-1979-2012

Only the “wages” of the top 1 percent (when measured in terms of real annual wages) surpassed the growth of productivity. The cumulative change in the wages of all other groups was less.

In other words, most of the growing amount of value produced by American workers wasn’t paid back to them in the form of wages but, instead, was either retained by their employers or distributed to a tiny group of CEOs and managers at the top.

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According to USA Today, it costs about $130,000 for a household (of 2 parents and 2 children) in the United States to live the American Dream—to purchase the essentials, enjoy some extras, pay taxes, and put aside some money for retirement. (Yes, it surprised me, too.)

The issue of the American Dream comes up in many courses I teach. A typical definition?

the belief that with hard work and the freedom to pursue your destiny you can achieve success and provide better opportunities for your children.

Many of my students believe the American Dream has been achieved, or at least is within reach, for most people.

The problem is, according to the Census Bureau [pdf], only 15 percent of U.S. households (in 2012) had that kind of income. The rest may be chasing—but, in current circumstances, they’re falling short of achieving—that dream.

St. Louis

source

According to David Nicklaus,

St. Louis is not only one of the most segregated large metro areas in the U.S., it also has an unusually large economic gap between black and white. The unemployment rate for African-Americans here is about three times as high as the rate for whites.

According to census figures from 2012, 47 percent of the metro area’s African-American men between ages 16 and 24 are unemployed. The comparable figure for young white men is 16 percent.

Those figures should be just as shocking as the images of armed police confronting unarmed demonstrators, yet we take them for granted.

In Ferguson city itself (according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey), the overall unemployment rate is 13.2 percent: 8.4 percent for whites, almost twice that (16 percent) for African Americans.

Chart of the day

Posted: 21 August 2014 in Uncategorized
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student loans-per recipient

As evidence of the “coming student loan apocalypse,” Shahien Nasiripour provides data about the astounding growth in student loan debt. As you can see in the chart above, average federal student loan debt per borrower has risen more than 50 percent between 2007 (when it was $18,233) and 2014 (now $27,481).*

fredgraph

That’s what students (and their families owe). By way of comparison, in terms of ability to pay, what’s happened to workers’ pay in the United States during that same period? Well, it’s only gone up (in nominal, not real, terms) 16 percent (from $702.40 in July 2007 to $843.50 July 2014).

In other words, students and their families’ ability to service their student loans is falling further and further behind the amount of debt their forced to take on in order to pay for their education.

Something has to give. . .

 

*Total federal student loans have grown even more: by an extraordinary 112.5 percent over that same period.

student loans-total