GEI comments on incomes

Given this healthy economic growth, the US electorate should be thrilled happy to be part of one of the fastest growing developed economies.

Yet they are clearly less than thrilled with the economy, let alone the administration or their representatives in Congress. Why? With real household income stagnant and still below where it was in 2012, the electorates view of the economy differs substantially from these numbers.

Unlike their elected representatives, they have to deal with the real world problems of making ends meet while juggling debt loads at credit card rates. It is likely that they have a deep and abiding sense that either these numbers are a bureaucratic fiction, or (more troubling) they are benefiting someone else:

The headline unemployment numbers mask a major deformation of the work force with fewer people choosing to look for work and more being forced to accept multiple part time jobs. People on the street understand the difference between an increasing quantity of part-time work and the quality of full-time jobs.

Real per capita disposable income was down -0.85% during 2013. And to maintain the prior years standard of living, the household savings rate plunged 2.3%.

For many households (and especially the 18-35 demographic) the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) will result in increased net monthly outlays for health insurance.

The per capita numbers continue to mask an ongoing shift in income distribution: although the average per capita income data has grown some 3.3% since October 2008 (per the BEA), the median household income has shrunk some 7% over that same time span (per Sentier Research). The typical member of the electorate lives at the median, and they are not sharing the growth reported by the BEA.