Putting Working Families First
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Reception: 6:00 p.m.
Dinner: 7:00 p.m.
Mayflower Renaissance Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
The lost decade
Earlier this week, EPI analyzed Census Bureau data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage. The data is another reminder of the Great Recession’s devastating effect on working Americans and their families. The deterioration of the labor market caused incomes to drop, poverty to rise, and health insurance coverage to decline. In a press conference call, two briefing papers, and subsequent analyses on EPI’s blog Working Economics, EPI’s experts explained what these numbers mean for American families.
In A lost decade: Income and poverty trends bleak for working families, EPI economists Dr. Heidi Shierholz and Dr. Elise Gould explained that from 2009 to 2010, the number of jobs fell by 658,000, the unemployment rate increased from 9.3 percent to 9.6 percent, and the share of unemployed workers who had been unemployed for more than six months climbed from 31.2 percent to 43.3 percent. The deterioration of the labor market also had a deleterious effect on household income. “The typical working-age household brought in roughly $6,300 less in 2010 than it did in 2000,”said Shierholz.
Other statistics are equally troubling:
- The poverty rate increased from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 15.1 percent in 2010. An additional 2.6 million people were living in poverty in 2010, and the total number of people in poverty in the United States was 46.2 million.
- The poverty rate for children was 22.0 percent in 2010, representing 16.4 million children. In 2010, more than one-third of all people living in poverty were children.
- Between 2000 and 2010, median income for working-age households fell from $61,574 to $55,276, a decline of roughly $6,300—which is more than 10 percent.
In Another year of decline for employer-sponsored health insurance Gould discussed the rising number of uninsured Americans under 65 and explained the compounding effects the Great Recession and jobs crisis had on the decline of insured Americans. Some of the report’s findings:
- In 2010, 49.1 million people under 65 were uninsured, up about three-quarters of a million people since 2009. The number of uninsured non-elderly Americans is 12.9 million higher than it was in 2000.
- The share of non-elderly Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance declined for nearly 10 years in a row, down from 59.4 percent in 2009 to 58.6 percent in 2010, a total decline of 10.5 percentage points since 2000.
- Critical provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as health reform) and the Recovery Act of 2009 helped offset the declines by enabling young adults to be insured on their parents’ health insurance policies and by helping to shore up Medicaid funding.
Though truly heartbreaking, perhaps the latest Census data will further incite policymakers to fight to improve the condition and daily lives of American workers and their families.
Multiple major media outlets and reporters cited EPI’s analysis of the Census Bureau data release.
The Washington Post’s Michael Fletcher quoted Shierholz in the front page story “Nearly one in six in poverty in the U.S.; children hit hard, Census says.” Shierholz told Fletcher that “not only have we experienced severe deterioration in recent years, but knowing how weak the outlook is makes this report even more ugly.”
From CNN Money: ‘ “As the job market remains weak, Americans can no longer depend on their workplace for consistent affordable coverage,” said Elise Gould.’
Who got the wealth?
This week’s Economic Snapshot illustrates the disturbing fact that the richest 5 percent of households obtained roughly 82 percent of all the nation’s gains in wealth between 1983 and 2009.
The bottom 60 percent of households had less wealth in 2009 than in 1983, meaning they did not participate at all in the growth of wealth over this period.
EPI visualizes state employment data
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly states employment report. Please visit the EPI homepage to see an interactive, color-coded breakdown of the report and to learn how your state is affected.
This Week’s Recap
Are you reading EPI’s new blog? Launched last week, Working Economics helps EPI analyze and respond to economic news quicker than ever before. Here are some of this week’s highlights:
- EPI research associate Richard Rothstein predicts that the achievement gap will grow because of high unemployment, while research director John Irons illustrates just how many young children are affected by parental unemployment.
- EPI Director of Regulatory Policy Research Isaac Shapiro calculates that President Obama’s so-called “billion-dollar” rules will have a combined annual net benefit ranging from $63 billion to as much as $200 billion, far exceeding the annual costs (between $19 and $20 billion).
- Tuesday’s release of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage provided numbers that serve as a reminder of the tremendous consequences of the Great Recession and its aftermath, including the fact that deep poverty is at an all-time high.
In addition: EPI economist Heidi Shierholz points out that working-age household income is down more than 10 percent since 2000, EPI Director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy Program Algernon Austin highlights the recession’s toll on children, and EPI’s Director of Health Policy Research Elise Gould provides evidence that the Affordable Care Act works.
- EPI policy analyst Andrew Fieldhouse explains why we need to raise more revenue from those at the top, not those at the bottom.
- EPI Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research Robert Scott laments the millions of jobs left on the table because the United States has failed to eliminate unfair currency manipulation by China and other countries.
- EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey defends the NLRB’s Boeing ruling and explains why it’s consistent with long-established labor law.