Economic Recovery - 4/2/14 | WYPR

Economic Recovery - 4/2/14

Apr 1, 2014

The U.S. economy officially emerged from recession in June 2009.  That means that in just three months, America will commence its sixth year of economic recovery.  But a survey conducted last week by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that 57 percent of respondents still think that the economy is in recession. 

Of course, these respondents are often not answering the question from a technical perspective, simply expressing the notion that the economy still isn’t that good.  According to writer Josh Barro, two primary factors are shaping people’s opinions – one is a still high unemployment rate – the other is the fact that those who are working find it difficult to demand higher wages.  Last year, Emanuel Saez, an economist at the University of California-Berkeley, determined that between 2009 and 2012, 95 percent of income gains accrued to the top 1 percent of earners.  The implication is that incomes for the vast majority of Americans have been slow to recovery. 

This is actually nothing new.  Wages and salaries peaked at more than 51 percent of the economy during the late 1960s.  They fell to a 45 percent share by the onset of the last recession in 2007 and have since declined to 42 percent.