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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

NY Times: The Boom That Wasn’t

by Calculated Risk on 4/09/2008 09:28:00 AM

David Leonhardt writes at the NY Times: For Many, a Boom That Wasn’t

It’s not just the apparent recession. Recessions happen. ...

The bigger problem is that the now-finished boom was, for most Americans, nothing of the sort. In 2000, at the end of the previous economic expansion, the median American family made about $61,000, according to the Census Bureau’s inflation-adjusted numbers. In 2007, in what looks to have been the final year of the most recent expansion, the median family, amazingly, seems to have made less — about $60,500.

This has never happened before ...

“We have had expansions before where the bottom end didn’t do well,” said Lawrence F. Katz, a Harvard economist who studies the job market. “But we’ve never had an expansion in which the middle of income distribution had no wage growth.”
This is a very important issue. Not only was this a weak recovery, but a majority of Americans didn't participate at all. And imagine if there hadn't been a housing bubble to drive consumer spending? No wonder so many people think the 2001 recession never ended.