In our turbulent times, middle-income households are falling behind and national data depicts an economy that’s stagnating. But tax revenue data for many states hints that some earners have had substantial increases in their incomes.
Let’s start with the national numbers. There has been a lot of reporting this week about median personal income dropping since the official end of the recession in June 2009. Robert Pear wrote in the New York Times:
Between June 2009, when the recession officially ended, and June 2011, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent, to $49,909, according to a study by two former Census Bureau officials. During the recession — from December 2007 to June 2009 — household income fell 3.2 percent.
If we isolate the period between June 2009 and June 2011, household income fell 3.5 percent nationally, or approximately 1.75 percent per year, according to the Sentier Reseach study quoted by Pear. This income reduction syncs up pretty closely with consumer expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that was reported in September. From the BLS:
Average annual expenditures per consumer unit fell 2.0 percent in 2010 following a decrease of 2.8 percent in 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. While spending fell in 2010, prices for goods and services increased 1.6 percent from 2009 to 2010, as measured by the CPI.