In 1999 the median household income (adjusted for inflation) was $58,655. The economy slowed in the early 2000s and then hit rock bottom with the Recession in 2007.
Our recovery since has been a slow but steadily upward trend and we finally hit solid ground in 2016.
The incomes levels of all demographic groups improved. Middle class Americans (the mean household income) rose to $59,039 - finally back to 1999 levels before the slowdown of 2000 started. This was the second consecutive year that we saw healthy gains. The poverty rate fell to 12.7 % - almost back down to where it was in 2007 before the Recession took effect. The number of people who lack health insurance is at its lowest in history.
The turn around in full time employment started in 2014 and has continued to gain up until the last 6 months. We are at a 16 year low in unemployment (4.4% in August-employment is now about the same as pre-recession levels-after accounting for population growth)
But while overall things have finally returned to the point where people feel like they are moving out of survival mode and can start to increase their financial strength,there are some worrisome signs.
Last year the rate of uninsured getting on a program grew, but at a slower rate than the year before.
While more people are now employed,employers are not giving anyone raises and if those wages do not start to increase,this upward momentum will again stall out.
The gap between the top fifth earners who take home more than half of all overall income and the rest of society is at record levels and growing. The gap between the median income of African American households ($39,490) and what whites bring home ($65,000) and what Asian household earn ($81,000) remains. These are issues that need to be addressed for the country to continue on the road to true prosperity.
Most economists feel it is still too early to see what kind of an effect a Trump/GOP administration is going to have on the economy and whether it will effect this stability positively or if it will effect it negatively and we start sliding back just as we finally made the top ridge.
There does not seem to be a lot of forward movement so far in this administration.Trump's first six months in office saw 25,000 fewer jobs per month than the last six months of Obama's presidency. Trump is cutting back programs that promote enrollment in Obamacare with the expectation that uninsured levels of going to start to creep back up.
Trump promised that a combination of tax cuts, infrastructure investment packages, renegotiated trade deals and the repeal of Obama administration regulations would deliver a burst of job creation and attendant economic growth.
So far, no such boom can be found.