The Progressive Review








The Real Economy


Stores closing all across America

Household debt at record high

Less than one percent of minimum wage workers can afford a one bedroom apartment

Housing for the poor

What's happened to income growth

Cost of living


Record high student loan debt

Middle class losing ground in metro areas

Economy in Crisis - A recent study done by 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 weren’t 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

The soaring costs of raising childen

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.




Estimated portion of Americans born in 1980 who will go on to earn more than their parents did : 1/2 Of those born in 1940 who did : 9/10


Millenials earn less than their parents did at their age

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 household’s 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


American middle class now a minority

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


@Harpers - Factor by which the average compensation for CEOs of fast-food companies has increased since 2000: 7


Unemployment filings at lowest since 1973

Jobless benefit pattern lowest since 1974

The unemployment rate hit a 16-year low in May


The disappearing jobs for men

One in six young men jobless or incarcerated

The new robotic industrial world

Unions vs where the income goes


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.

Mother Jones

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 it’s 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 they’re working those hours...

The reported shift in working hours appears to hit parents particularly hard. Some 41% of managers who have kids say they’ve 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.

Economic Collapse Blog: Mid-wage industries constituted 37 percent of recession losses, but only 26 percent of recovery growth.

Wall Street Journal

The rate of unionization among American workers fell to 11.3% in 2012, which is the lowest since 1916

Self employed at all time low

Just 24% of people cut off from unemployment benefits have since found work

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 1940’s and the 1980’s, 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 reform’s major coverage expansions took effect in 2014. Among the survey’s 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.


Black-white wage gap widest since 1979

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 isn’t 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 hasn’t 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. We’ve 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.



At least 13% of commnity college students are homeless

Aid to poor families being slashed

Poverty drops along with other good news

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 nation’s 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 University’s 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 - America’s 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 it’s 20 of every 100.


Number on food stamps declines


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 nation’s 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 aren’t 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 assistance—a 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.



Black-white wage gap worse than in 1979

NY Times

Manufacturing workers need public assistance because of poor pay

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.


Economic Policy Institute

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 Service’s 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 wage’s real value ($7.25) would have to increase by $3.44 (or 47%).

40% Of US workers now earn less than 1968 minimum wage

@Harpers - Factor by which the average compensation for CEOs of fast-food companies has increased since 2000: 7




In a recent GoBankingRates study, 69% of adults admitted to having less than $1,000 in the bank, while 34% said they actually don't have any savings at all. But apparently, this collective lack of savings doesn't get all that much better with age. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found not so long ago that almost half of Americans die nearly broke. Of the general population, 46% of retirees die with savings of $10,000 or less. But that number climbs to 57% among retirees who are single. Now when we take other assets, like homes, into account, the picture gets a bit less bleak. Still, 57% of single-adult households and 50% of widowed households had no housing equity to show for when they died.

100 CEOs' retirement plans equal entire savings of 41% of U.S. families

Eight men have same wealth as 3.6 bilion poorest people


Most Millennials Have Less Than $1,000 in Savings

Michael Snyder, Activist Post: According to a survey that was just released, 24 percent of all Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.

At this point, approximately 62 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Adults under the age of 35 in the United States currently have a savings rate of negative 2 percent.

Highest credit card debt since 1980s

Ethnic wealth gap growing

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 nation’s banking assets. Now they hold more than 45 percent. Their huge size fuels further growth because they’ll 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, it’s 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.

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.


The tough state of renters

CNN - The median existing home price climbed to $252,800 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors, exceeding the peak hit in June 2016 of $247,600.At this point, home prices have been rising every month for more than five years.While that's good news for home sellers, buyers are having a tough time finding homes they can afford. Cities across the U.S. are facing major housing shortages, which means buyers have to compete for homes with bidding wars and offers well above asking price.

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.


Homelessness drops


Young home ownership drops 20% in ten years

Housing affordability at eight year low

Home sales at highest level since 2007

Housing starts soar

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%.



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.

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.



Many urban homes losing value


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” (HUD’s 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 don’t 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 doesn’t 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


Social Security lifted 22 milliion out of poverty last year

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

Growing number of Americans feel they'll have to work until they're in the 80s . . .or until they die


Radio Shack closes 1000 stores

Big drop off in new businesses

US manufacturing is 85% higher today than it was under Ronald Reagan.

Macy's is closing about 100 out of 675 department stores nationwide. Most will close in early 2017.

Americans ditching shopping malls

Major retailers are shutting down hundreds of stores

The decline of new businesses in America

Middle class collapse shutting down major retail chains