Household income showing effects of 'Great Recession'

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Economists say the "Great Recession" is officially over, but the 2009 American Community Survey shows just how widespread it was.

There was plenty of negative news in the Census Bureau report, and not much positive.

For instance:

* Real median household income decreased by 2.9 percent from $51,729 to $50,221. That was true between 2008 and 2009 in 34 states, with the exception of North Dakota, where it increased about 5.1 percent, from $45,497 to $47,357.

* Thirty-one states saw increases in both the number and percentage of people in poverty.

* U.S. workers saw their hours decreased by more than half an hour a week, and decline in 46 of the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas.

* Workers in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair saw paychecks cut by more than an hour in 2009 compared to 2008, and the self-employed fared even worse, working 66 fewer minutes for those who worked in their own unincorporated business.

* 59.2 percent of men aged 16 to 24 had jobs in 2008, compared to 61.5 percent the year before; employed women the same age declined from 60.4 percent to 58.7 percent.

* For men 25 to 54, labor force participation dropped from 88.5 percent to 87.9 percent, while for women it actually increased .1 percent.

Nebraska has been relatively insulated from the effects of the recession -- just as it is relatively insulated from effects of booming economies -- but the "Great Recession" did make itself felt here.

From 2008 to 2009, Nebraska's median household income declined from $49,342 to $47,357, or an estimated 4 percent decline; Kansas saw a drop of 3.8 percent, from $49,686 to $47,817.

This year's local budgets have long since been debated and finalized, but if they are to reflect the condition of those who support them through taxes, it's not unreasonable to expect a reduction next year.

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