Is the “economic recovery” really a continuing recession for most Americans?

That's what the economic data suggest, at least the data through 2012. After reproducing what Matthew Yglesias calls the most important chart about the American economy you'll see this year, Yglesias explains:

For a long time, most of the gains from economic growth went to the bottom 90 percent of the income distribution. And, after all, the bottom 90 percent includes the vast majority of people. Since 1980, that hasn't been the case. And for the first several years of the current expansion, the bottom 90 percent saw inflation-adjusted incomes continues to fall.

Yglesias goes on to note that "[t]he data series ends in 2012 and we don't know how long the expansion will last, so that negative income trend may evaporate before all is said and done." BuX2fpzIAAAZc77.0.0

The chart was produced by economist Pavlina Tcherneva.


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