|UNDERNEWS||NEWS BY TOPIC||
Foreclosures hit a 10-year low in 2016. The number of properties in foreclosure declined 14 percent from 2015, with 933,045 foreclosures filed in 2016, Reuters reports. This is a 70-percent decrease from the peak of the housing crisis in 2009.
Economy in Crisis - A recent study done by Bankrate.com shows how millennials are putting their future on hold because of the burdening student loan debt. In fact, 56 percent of young adults interviewed stated that they are holding off on buying their first home until they fully pay of their student loan debt....
However, it used to not be like that. Tuition costs werent nearly as high as they are now and job opportunities were available left and right that offered good wages and benefits. Nowadays, there is an average of 118 people applying for the one job.
Green Party of New Jersey
From a 2013 low to the latest quarter, overall household debt is up by a little over 6%or 5% if you take out student debt. But student debt is up almost 20%.
Gallup - In the first quarter of 2015, 15.8% of Americans reported that in the last 12 months they had struggled to afford food for themselves or their families. This is the lowest percentage measured since the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index started in 2008.
The previous low was in the first quarter of 2008, when 16.4% of Americans reported lacking enough money to buy food for themselves or their families. The percentage peaked in the third quarter of 2013, when nearly one in five Americans said they struggled to afford food.
From 2000 to 2014, the average cost of in-state tuition and fees for public colleges in America rose 80 percent. During that same time period, the median American household income dropped by 7 percent.
The median households income in 2015 was $56,500, up 5.2 percent from the previous year the largest single-year increase since record-keeping began in 1967, the Census Bureau said on Tuesday. The share of Americans living in poverty also posted the sharpest decline in decades.
Financial inequality became even wider in the United States last year, with average income for the top 1 percent of households surging 7.7 percent to $1.36 million. Income for the richest sliver rose twice as fast as it did for the remaining 99 percent of households... Still, the incomes of households outside the top 1 percent appear finally to be recovering from the Great Recession, which officially ended seven years ago. After accounting for inflation, their average income rose 3.9 percent last year to $48,768 the strongest annual gain since 1998.
In more than a third of counties, median income dropped 10% or more since 2000
Since the Wall Street crash of 2008, more than 58% of all new income has gone to the top 1%.- Bernie Sanders
Average hourly earnings grew 2.5% between October 2014 and October 2015, the highest growth rate we have seen since the Great Recession.
Bernie Sanders - Today real median family income is almost $5,000 less than it was in 1999 in inflation accounted for dollars. Why is that? How does that happen? The typical male worker, that man right in the middle of the American economy, made $783 less last year than he did 42 years ago after adjusting for inflation...The typical female worker is making $1,337 less than she did in be 2007.
AFP - Most Americans' incomes continued to fall last year, but
Decline for middle income Americans since 1967 Millenials more likely to live in poverty than parents
News Republic - In 1980, the typical young worker in Detroit or Flint, Michigan, earned more than his counterpart in San Francisco or San Jose. The states with the highest median income were Michigan, Wyoming, and Alaska. Nearly 80 percent of the Boomer generation, which at the time was between 18 and 35, was white, compared to 57 percent today. Three decades later... Michigan's median income for under-35 workers has fallen by 26 percent, more than any state. In fact, beyond the east coast, earnings for young workers fell in every state but Hawaii and South Dakota.
The latest analysis by the AFL-CIO shows that the average U.S. CEO was paid 331 times more than their average worker last year, and 774 times more than a minimum wage worker. That's a significant increase in the past three years
As union density went down, inequality went up
WALL STREET JOURNAL
@Harpers - Factor by which the average compensation for CEOs of fast-food companies has increased since 2000: 7
The U.S. economy has added a healthy average of roughly 200,000 jobs a month since 2011. Yet most have been either high-paying or low-paying positions. By the end of 2015, the nation still had fewer middle-income jobs than it did before the recession, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Jobless claims unexpectedly decreased to the lowest level since 1973
NOT IN LABOR FORCE
When President Obama took office in January 2009, 80,529,000 Americans were not in the labor force, the highest number on record. That number rose steadily during his two terms, reaching a record 95,055,000 in November 2016, then setting another record (95,102,000) in December.
Zero Hedge - in October the age group that accounted for virtually all total job gains was workers aged 55 and over. They added some 378K jobs in the past month, representing virtually the entire increase in payrolls. And more troubling: workers aged 25-54 actually declined by 35,000, with males in this age group tumbling by 119,000.
Little wonder then why there is no wage growth as employers continue hiring mostly those toward the twilight of their careers: the workers who have little leverage to demand wage hikes now and in the future, something employers are well aware of.
While workers aged 55 and older have gained over 7.5 million jobs in the past 8 years, workers aged 55 and under, have lost a cumulative total of 4.6 million jobs.
Number of millions not in workforce
Adam Hersh- Labor force participation for less than HS 45.4%; higher education 74.6%... Unemployment rate at 16.8% for teens, 10.8% for 20-24 year olds
Wall Street Journal - About half of all managers work more than 40 hours a week, according to a new survey from tax and consulting firm EY, and 39% report that their hours have increased in the past five years. Little wonder, then, that one-third of workers say its getting more difficult to balance work and life.
The survey, which fielded opinions from 9,699 full-time employees in eight countries, raises some questions about the sustainability of the current pace of work, said Karyn Twaronite, who heads up diversity and inclusion efforts for EY and commissioned the study.
Employees report that their responsibilities at work have increased while wages have largely stayed flat. And while technologies like company-provided smartphones and remote-work software have bought workers some flexibility, they also keep people tied to work seven days a week, Ms. Twaronite noted.
Fifty-eight percent of managers in the U.S. report working more than 40 hours a week, surpassed only by managers in Mexico, where 61% say theyre working those hours...
The reported shift in working hours appears to hit parents particularly hard. Some 41% of managers who have kids say theyve seen their hours increase in the last five years, as compared to 37% of managers who do not have children.
Activist Post -Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had full-time jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin. But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have full-time jobs.
Economic Collapse Blog: Lower-wage industries constituted
22 percent of recession losses, but 44 percent of recovery growth.
The rate of unionization among American workers fell to 11.3% in 2012, which is the lowest since 1916
Jobs added since the recovery began pay 23% less than the jobs lost at the height of the Recession
USA Today - According to a Pew report released June 23, employment among 16- to 19-year-olds has declined over the last two decades. Less than a third of 16 to 17-year-olds working a summer job last year. For 18- to 19-year-olds, the summer employment rate last year was approximate 44%, which is still below the 62.6% average rate in the summer of 2000.
Fewer than 32% of teenagers were employed between June and August last year. The current percentage is close to the all-time low of approximately 30% in 2010 and 2011.
In 1978, 58% of teens had summer jobs, the highest rate of teen summer employment. Between the 1940s and the 1980s, the all-time low was 46% in 1963.
Fewer people skipped needed health care due to its cost or reported trouble paying medical bills in 2014, a new survey finds. These improvements, the first since the Commonwealth Fund began asking these questions roughly a decade ago, came as health reforms major coverage expansions took effect in 2014. Among the surveys findings:The number of adults who reported problems with medical debt (such as difficulty paying bills) fell from an estimated 75 million in 2012 to 64 million in 2014. The share of the population reporting these problems fell from 41 to 35 percent.
Jesse Jackson, Washington Informer - Public-sector jobs are at the heart of the middle class, particularly for African-Americans and Latinos. And they are in steep decline.
One of five African-American adults works in government employment. This is a higher percentage than either white Americans or Latinos. It isnt surprising. Freed of segregation, African-Americans came into our cities just as manufacturing jobs the traditional pathway to the middle class were headed abroad. Government employment offered secure jobs, decent pay and benefits, a chance to buy a home and lift your family.
Women also flocked to public service jobs, which offered greater professional and managerial opportunities.
But in 2008 when the economy collapsed, state budgets were savaged. Tax revenues plummeted; spending needs soared. Deep cutbacks in regular programs followed. No one will be surprised to learn that African Americans lost jobs at a higher rate than whites, often because of seniority.
Now, in the sixth year of the recovery, the economy has inched back, unemployment is down. But employment in the public sector hasnt bounced back. The new jobs being created pay less and offer less security than the jobs that were lost. And this has devastating effects on the African-American middle class, the very people who have worked hard, played by the rules, and sought to get ahead.
The Economic Policy Institute estimates that since 2007, there are 1.8 million missing jobs in the public sector. Moreover, across the country, conservative Republican governors have assaulted unions and sought to curb collective bargaining, erase teacher tenure, and dramatically cut pensions and other benefits.
The loss of jobs and cutback on wages exacerbated the housing collapse. Weve learned that banks and other predators targeted black neighborhoods like Prince Georges County in Maryland. They marketed shoddy mortgages, leaving those with good credit paying higher rates than they could have and those with no credit betting it all on the assumption that housing prices would never fall.
Many report on the decline of the middle class, which has fallen backward over the last decade in both median income and wealth. More than 8 of 10 Americans, according to a Pew Poll, now report that it is harder to maintain their standard of living than it was 10 years ago.
And African-Americans and Latinos got hit the hardest. The race gap has widened, not narrowed, in this century. The New York Times reports that 50 percent of African-Americans now are low-income households, along with 43 percent of Latinos a category that has been growing since 2000.
Almost two thirds don't have $500 to pay for car repair
Between 2013 and 2014, the poverty rate in most states was largely unchanged, according to release of state poverty statistics from the American Community Survey). While the poverty rate fell slightly for the country as a whole, most of the changes at the state level were too small to signify a meaningful difference. As of 2014, only two states-North Dakota and Colorado-have poverty rates at or below their 2007 values, before the Great Recession.
One in five young adults ages 18 to 34 years old live in poverty, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Up from one in seven (8.4 million people) in 1980.
One recent study finds that our nations poverty rate would have dropped by 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration and the subsequent criminal records that haunt people for years after they have paid their debt to society
Washington Post - The number of homeless children in public schools has doubled since before the recession, reaching a record national total of 1.36 million in the 2013-2014 school year, according to new federal data.
Global Research - A report from Columbia Universitys Mailman School of Public Health reveals that forty four percent of children (those under 18) are living in de facto poverty. The Federal Government issues an artificially low annual official poverty level that radically understates the real level of US poverty. For 2015 the official level of poverty for a family of four, for example, is roughly an income $24,000 a year or less. This is for a family with 2 adults and 2 children.
Washington Post - The United States ranks near the bottom of the pack of wealthy nations on a measure of child poverty, according to a new report from UNICEF. Nearly one third of U.S. children live in households with an income below 60 percent of the national median income in 2008.
USA Today - A higher percentage of children live in poverty now than did during the Great Recession, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. About 22% of children in the U.S. lived below the poverty line in 2013, compared with 18% in 2008, the foundation's 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Human and Health Service's official poverty line was $23,624 for a family with two adults and two children
Popular Resistance - Americas wealth grew by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion. In approximately the same time, the number of homeless children has also grown by 60 percent.
... The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. As UNICEF reports, [Children's] material well-being is highest in the Netherlands and in the four Nordic countries and lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States.
Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty.
Nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, and they averaged about $5 a day for their meals before the 2014 farm bill cut $8.6 billion (over the next ten years) from the food stamp program.
In 2007 about 12 of every 100 kids were on food stamps. Today its 20 of every 100.
Activist Post -One recent survey discovered that about 22 percent of all Americans have had to turn to a church food pantry for assistance.
Center on Budget & Policy Priorities - Roughly 1 million of the nations poorest people will be cut off SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) over the course of 2016, due to the return in many areas of a three-month limit on SNAP benefits for unemployed adults aged 18-50 who arent disabled or raising minor children. These individuals will lose their food assistance benefits after three months regardless of how hard they are looking for work.
Common Dreams - According to the United States Conference of Mayors' annual Hunger and Homelessness Survey, 71 percent of the 25 cities surveyed saw an increase in requests for emergency food assistancea majority of those coming from families. Low wages were the biggest cause of hunger among those cities, followed by poverty, unemployment, and high living costs...
More than 80 percent of emergency kitchens had to slash the amount of food an individual could take in one visit or per meal. Of the 25 cities surveyed, 21 said they expected food needs to increase in the next year.
According to the Fed, an astounding 47 percent of all Americans could not come up with $400 to pay for an emergency room visit without borrowing it or selling something.
The typical female worker made $1,337 less last year than she did in 2007.- Bernie Sanders
The minimum wage if it had gone up at the rate of Yale College tuition since 1970: $26
American exceptionalism: The United States is the only nation among advanced economies that does not provide a legal guarantee of paid leave. New Zealand and Australia ensure respectively 30 and 28 days of paid leave, and Canada's federal government stipulates 19 paid days, with some provinces adding on additional time. Even in Japan, where thousands commit suicide every year because of work-related stress, all employees are guaranteed 10 paid vacation days.
A new report finds that wages of manufacturing workers have fallen 4.4% in the past decade- "almost three times faster than for workers as a whole."
Among all employees nationally, 56 percent are hourly workers, and 32 percent of these, or more than 21 million, earn less than $10.10 per hour, according to University of Virginia researchers in the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Services Demographics Research Group.
The Labor Department reports that the 13 states that raised their minimum wage in 2014 have added jobs faster than those that didn't.
The rate of poverty level wages for women has declined over the last last three-and-a-half decades, especially among those 35 to 44 years old.
62 percent of all Americans make $20 or less an hour at this point.
Nine of the top ten occupations in the U.S. pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year..
Congressional Research Service - The peak value of the minimum wage in real terms was reached in 1968. To equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage in 1968 ($10.69), the current minimum wages real value ($7.25) would have to increase by $3.44 (or 47%).
@Harpers - Factor by which the average compensation for CEOs of fast-food companies has increased since 2000: 7
OFF THE CHARTS
Bernie Sanders - Student debt has surpassed credit card debt and is now the second-largest source of personal indebtedness.
Robert Reich - Back in 2000, before they almost ruined the economy and had to be bailed out, the five biggest banks on Wall Street held 25 percent of the nations banking assets. Now they hold more than 45 percent. Their huge size fuels further growth because theyll be bailed out if they get into trouble again.This hidden federal guarantee against failure is estimated be worth over $80 billion a year to the big banks. In effect, its a subsidy from the rest of us to the bankers.
Pensions & investments - More than half of all American households do not have enough put away for retirement, and the problem is getting worse, said new research from the Center for American Progress.
Along with tracking what people are putting away for retirement, the researchers looked at dozens of studies by government, academic and private-sector organizations that model how likely people are to fall short when they retire. The most convincing estimates project that more than 50% of households will fall short, and even the most optimistic studies predict that nearly one-quarter of retirees will, CAP researchers found.
As of 2013, the top 20% of working-age households by income held 67.7% of all retirement assets, while the bottom 50% held 7.4% of assets.
Roughly 31% of Americans have no retirement savings and no access to defined benefit plans, according to Federal Reserve data, including 19% of people ages 55 to 64. Of the 65% of private-sector workers with access to workplace retirement plans, only 48% participated in one in 2014.
Activist Post -American families in the middle 20 percent of the income scale have a lower net worth than they did on the day when Barack Obama first entered the White House.
At this point, one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is "in collections".
According to the New York Times, the typical American household is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.
The median wealth for high-income families was $639,400 last year up 7% from three years earlier on an inflation-adjusted basis. For middle-income families, the median wealth that is, assets minus debts stood at $96,500 last year, unchanged from 2010. The result is that the typical wealth of the nation's upper-income households last year was nearly seven times that of middle-class ones. By Pew's calculations, that is the biggest gap in the 30 years that the Fed has been collecting statistics from its Survey of Consumer Finances.
Truth Out In 2005, for every $1 of financial wealth there was 66 cents of non-financial (home) wealth. Ten years later, for every $1 of financial wealth there was just 43 cents of non-financial (home) wealth.
Oxfam reported that just 85 people own as much as half the world. Here in the U.S., with nearly a third of the world's wealth, just 47 individuals own more than all 160 million people (about 60 million households) below the median wealth level of about $53,000.
The upper middle class in the U.S., defined as everyone in the top half below the richest 20%, owns 11.9 percent of the wealth. Indonesia at 10.5 percent and Russia at 7.5 percent are worse off, but in all other nations the corresponding upper middle classes own 12 to 27 percent of the wealth.
Center on Budget & Policy Priorities - Renter incomes fell during the economic recessions that began in 2001 and 2007; as of 2014, they remained well below the 2001 level. At the same time, rental costs have risen as the supply of rental units has failed to keep pace with a record-setting surge in the number of renter households.
The growing gap between rents and incomes has particularly squeezed low-income families. From 2001 to 2013, the number of unassisted renter households with very low incomes (no greater than 50 percent of the area median income) that are paying more than half their income for rental costs or live in severely substandard housing i.e., those with worst-case needs rose 54 percent, from 5 million households in 2001 to 7.7 million in 2013. Families with children have experienced the largest growth in worst-case needs.
Harvard University - The homeownership rate for minorities continues to lag: It peaked at 51.3% in 2004, and has now fallen to 47.2%. Of all minority groups, African Americans have the lowest rate of homeownership, just 43.8%.
A key factor in the decline in homeownership is the steady erosion of household incomes since the recession began.
Restricted access to financing has also kept people away from the housing market: For those with credit scores between 660 and 720, home-purchase loans decreased 37%, while the decrease for those with higher scores was just 9%.
Washington Examiner - The rental crisis afflicting the U.S. will only become more acute in the years ahead, and the number of households paying more than 50 percent of their income to rent is expected to grow 11 percent by 2025, according to a new study. Today, 11.8 million households spend more than half their income on rent, but that number will increase to 13.1 million over the next decade .... In particular, larger numbers of lower-earning minority families seeking housing will turn to a limited supply of rental units, as will millions of seniors with fixed incomes.
The U.S. rental market is booming, with 770,000 additional rental households added yearly since 2004.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Reuters - A record 57 million Americans, or 18 percent of the U.S. population, lived in households with two or more generations in 2012, with young adults leading the trend.The number of Americans living in multi-generational households has doubled since 1980. The figure spiked during the 2007-2009 recession and has moved higher since then, the analysis by the Pew Research Center said. "The increase in multi-generational living since 2010 is apparent across genders and among most racial and ethnic groups," the report said. About 24 percent of young adults, or those ages 25 to 34, lived in multiple generation households in 2012, more than double the percentage in 1980, the report said.
HUD recently reported that as of January 2014, the chronically homeless numbered some 84,291, with 63 percent of those individuals living on the streets. HUD says this number has declined by 21 percent, or 22,937 persons, since 2010
@Harpers - Number of homeless people in Tokyo for every 10,000 residents: 1 ... In New York City: 67
Off the Charts - The number of low-income households paying more than half of their income for rent or living in severely substandard housing remains 30 percent above pre-recession levels despite the improving economy, a new Department of Housing and Urban Development report shows. In 2013, 7.7 million households had worst-case housing needs (HUDs measure of the most serious housing problems), the report shows up from 5.9 million in 2007. Most of them include a child, elderly individual, or person with disabilities. These data dont include many of the more than 1 million households that were in shelters or on the streets in 2013.
Homes with indoor plumbing up from 55% in 1940s to 99% now
There are approximately 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
We are one of only 13 nations in the entire world, that doesnt guarantee workers a paid vacation. - Bernie Sanders
Vox - Nine million Americans took a week off in July 1976, the peak month each year for summer travel. Yet in July 2014, just seven million did. Keeping in mind that 60 million more Americans have jobs today than in 1976, that adds up to a huge decline in the share of workers taking vacations.
Some rough calculations show, in fact, that about 80 percent of workers once took an annual weeklong vacation and now, just 56 percent do.
It's not as if Americans are cutting back on an excessive vacation habit, either. The United States is the only developed economy that doesn't guarantee its workers a paid vacation. Most of its peer nations promise about 20 days off a year, according to a report by Rebecca Ray, Milla Sanes, and John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
About a quarter of the American workforce doesn't get paid vacation, according to data they cite from the National Compensation Survey. The no-vacationers usually work part-time or for small employers in low-wage jobs
Bernie Sanders More than half of workers between the ages of 55 and 64 have no retirement savings at all.
A new survey finds that nearly one third of people who have some sort of savings plan have amassed less than $1,000 for retirement.
Time - The average middle class American has only $20,000 in retirement savings, according to a new survey that shows large swathes of the public are aware of those shortfalls and feeling anxious about their golden years.... 22% of Americans said they would prefer to suffer an early death than retire without enough funds to support a comfortable standard of living.
Huffington Post - In a recent working paper, we find that only 44% of workers in the United States have access to a retirement plan at work. Except for workers with defined benefit plans, most middle class U.S. workers will not have adequate retirement income -- 55% of near-retirees will only have Social Security income at age 65.
Average retirement age has risen three years in the past decade
Bernie Sanders - In the last 15 years, nearly 60,000 factories in this country have closed, and more than 4.8 million well-paid manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Much of this is related to disastrous trade agreements that encourage corporations to move to low-wage countries.
Major retailers are shutting down hundreds of stores
The decline of new businesses in America
Economy in Crisis - A study conducted by the Economic Studies revealed in 2014 that more U.S. businesses are closing than they are opening. Business deaths now exceed business births for the first time in thirty-plus-yea history of our data, states Ian Hathaway and Robert E. Litan. Looking closely at the data, all of this began in the late 1970s and early 1980s, right around the era when free trade started becoming popular in America. Businesses have been affected in all 50 states in the past three decades. Even the Business Dynamics Statistics, a part of the U.S. Census shows us this to be true...
Tom Lewis, Daily Impact - Familiar brands, friendly to and beloved of the American middle class, are going the way of well, the way of the American middle class: Sears. J.C. Penney, Kohls, Radio Shack, Target, and many more are announcing store closings and layoffs on a regular basis. Sears lost $300 million last year and is accelerating its store closings, with 235 now on the chopping block....
Preppy young things such as Wet Seal (teen clothes bankrupt, 338 stores dark, 3,700 laid off), C. Wonder (preppy stuff, gone, 11 stores), and Aeropostale (75 stores closed, 75 more doomed) are sinking to their knees.
Target ... just closed all 133 stores in Canada and laid off 17,000 people. (For a list of all the US stores whose closings in 2015 have so far been announced, go here.)
Once built at a rate of 100 per week, there hasnt been a major new [mall] built in America since 2006. Those that remain have become increasingly irrelevant and insolvent.
Veteran retail consultant Howard Davidowitz expects as many as half of Americas 1,000 or so malls to fail within 15 to 20 years. He predicts that only the 400 upscale shopping centers with anchors like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus will survive. But midmarket malls, he says, are going, going, gone.
Consultant Davidowitz knows the answer. This isnt rocket science, he says. Whats going on is the customers dont have the fucking money.
For each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened. Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.