Nearly all Americans have now emerged from the Great Recession with more money than before -- with African American and Hispanic families and Americans without high school diplomas showing the greatest gains, according to new data released Wednesday from the Federal Reserve. It's a sign that the recovery from the devastating Great Recession and financial crisis of 2008 is picking up as more people are able to get jobs, pay off debt and invest more. Household wealth for African-American and Hispanic families and Americans without high school diplomas rose the fastest from 2013 to 2016, according to the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances, which surveys over 6,000 households about their pay, debt and other finances.
U.S. families’ wealth and incomes rose across the board as the economic recovery continued in recent years, a shift after they stagnated for all but the most well-off in the aftermath of the recession, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.
Minority households and families with less education had larger proportional gains in income than others between 2013 and 2016, suggesting the fruits of the recovery spread to a wider swath of society, the Fed said.
Weakness in the labor market doesn’t adequately explain why fewer men are working or seeking jobs, according to a new paper published by economist Scott Winship and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. One big contributor is the rising number of men in their prime working years–aged 25 to 54–who are getting federal disability benefits, or report being disabled, and who are not actively searching for jobs, Mr. Winship concludes. This suggests there is less slack in the labor market—such as people who could be drawn in off the sidelines—than many policy makers believe.
Many are concerned about the state of the American job market, convinced that improving employment indicators mask pervasive hardship. In particular, some are concerned about the increase in the number of prime-age men who are neither working nor looking for work—men who are out of the labor force, or inactive. While this upward trend is routinely taken as a sign of the economy’s weakness, other interpretations are possible.
Scott Winship considers why inactivity in the labor force among prime-age men—those between the ages of 25 and 54—has grown so steadily for so long. The study examines trends in a number of labor market indicators to assess the extent to which rising inactivity rates reflect a worsening of the job market (lower demand) or reduced job-seeking (lower supply). It takes a detailed look at four different types of prime-age inactive men: the disabled, the retired, those who want a job, and those who do not.
Policymakers should focus on helping the unemployed and inactive men who want jobs and on reforming disability programs to promote independence. The unemployment rate provides a reliable indicator of changes in the labor market’s strength, even if it understates the level of involuntary joblessness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics should consider adopting a new “U5b” rate that includes inactive people who want a job along with those counted by the existing unemployment rate, in order to institutionalize a broader measure of joblessness and increase faith in our jobless statistics.
Marriage, which used to be the default way to form a family in the United States, regardless of income or education, has become yet another part of American life reserved for those who are most privileged.
Fewer Americans are marrying over all, and whether they do so is more tied to socioeconomic status than ever before. In recent years, marriage has sharply declined among people without college degrees, while staying steady among college graduates with higher incomes.
Currently, 26 percent of poor adults, 39 percent of working-class adults and 56 percent of middle- and upper-class adults are married, according to a research brief published today from two think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute and Opportunity America. In 1970, about 82 percent of adults were married, and in 1990, about two-thirds were, with little difference based on class and education.