Median Household Income Rising

Date: September 15, 2016 Last Edit: September 16, 2016

US Median Household Income Rose 5.2% In 2015, Census Bureau Says

According to the latest Census Bureau data, US median household income rose 5.2% in 2015 to $56,516. In an announcement about the new data, the Census Bureau noted that 2015 marked “the first annual increase in median household income since 2007” and that 3.5 million fewer Americans lived in poverty in 2015 than in 2014. According to the New York Times, 2015’s median household income increase was “the largest one-year rise since at least 1967,” and that the income gains show that recent economic gains “are being distributed more broadly.” However, the median household income is “still 1.6 percent lower than in 2007” and “remains 2.4 percent lower than the peak reached during the boom of the late 1990s.” Bloomberg News reports the poverty rate “was at 13.5 percent, representing 43.1 million Americans.” According to Trudi Renwick, an assistant Census division chief, the rise in median income “was due mainly to an increase in employment and in full-time, year-round workers, with 1.4 million men and 1 million women added.” The AP says that according to one expert, the “income gains and drop in poverty reflect ongoing gains in the job market.” The piece adds that consumers “are also likely benefiting from an increase in middle-income jobs,” and says the majority of “jobs created in the early years of the recovery” were “in low-paying sectors, such as fast food restaurants and retail.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Though the latest report showing an increase in median household income suggests there may be signs of life in the US economy, overall economic conditions remain murky, particularly for small businesses. As NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said in the latest Small Business Economic Trends report, “Uncertainty seems to be the major enemy of economic progress and the political climate is a major contributor to the high levels of uncertainty that we’ve seen. The current economic environment is not a good one for strong or sustained growth.”

Additional Reading

The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Reuters also covered the latest median household income data.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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