Most Americans are still living through financial doldrums, even as President Obama talks up the economic rebound five years after the 2008 financial meltdown.
The stock market has eclipsed its past peak. Corporate profits bounced back. But average household incomes are down 8.3 percent since 2007, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday.
Recent momentum has done little to aid most families. Household incomes averaged $51,017 last year, a slight $83 decrease from 2011. Their earnings were largely unaffected by the unemployment rate’s dip from 8.5 percent to 7.8 percent during that same period.
But the most overlooked nugget in the Census report is something that rings new alarm bells: More than 2 million millennials are stuck crashing with their parents, earning poverty wages and unable to emerge from the long shadow cast by the Great Recession.
An additional 9.8 million Americans since 2007 have been living with roommates or have been forced to move back in with their parents. That figure stayed statistically flat between 2012 and 2013, the Census Bureau said.
The report does not flesh out why so many Americans need to bunk in their childhood beds, but the Census data indicates they simply cannot afford to live on their own—few job opportunities and high student loan debt are part of the problem. Much of this demographic is expected to buy health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges.
Of the 5.8 million 25-to-34-year-olds who now live with mom and dad, 43.3 percent have incomes below the poverty line. Based on federal poverty guidelines, this means that 2.5 million Americans who are about to enter their prime earning years make less than $11,490.
For all the talk by President Obama and congressional Republicans about building a stronger future – the current feeble circumstances are a bad omen.