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American Median Incomes Are Finally Back to Prerecession Levels

MarketWatch (12/29/15) Andrea Riquier

Americans’ median incomes have recovered the ground lost since the beginning of the Great Recession, according to a report by Sentier Research, which drew on U.S. Census Bureau data. According to the report, the median annual household income was $56,746 in November. While this was just a slight increase from October’s median of $56,688, November’s figures were high enough to top the $56,688 reached in December 2007, when the recession began.

Sentier economists Gordon Green and John Coder are optimistic. Their own household income index hit its low point in August 2011. The period since then “has been marked by an uneven, but generally upward trend in the level of real median annual household income,” they wrote. Sentier also noted the strong improvement in the labor market since the August 2011 trough. The jobless rate is down four percentage points, to 5.0%, the median duration of unemployment has been cut in half to 10.8 weeks, and a broader measure of underemployment is 9.9%, down from 16.1%.