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Uncharacteristic growth in late 1990s

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A weekly presentation of downloadable charts and short analyses designed to graphically illustrate important economic issues. Updated every Wednesday.

Snapshot for October 4, 2000

Uncharacteristic growth in late 1990s
Family income increased substantially in the two-and-a-half decades after World War II (1947-73), growing by $21,670 in 1999 dollars, for an annual rate of growth of 2.8%. In the two business cycles after that, though, family income growth slowed dramatically: it rose less than half a percent a year from 1973 to 1989. In response to the recession of the early 1990s, family income dropped 7.3% (1989-93).

Median family income, 1947-98

Median family income, 1947-98

During the last few years of the 1990s, however, as the labor market moved toward full employment and productivity growth rates increased, median family income grew quickly, at 2.5% per year. There have been other short growth spurts of this magnitude, but they have typically been the expected rebound from a recessionary trough, as in the early 1980s. The late 1990s median income gains have come uncharacteristically late in the cycle.

From The State of Working America 2000-01, Chapter 1, “Family Income.”

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