The hot topic in the economy was the national poverty rate, which hit 15.1% for 2010. This is the highest rate seen in history according to the Census Bureau.
Last year the rate was up 14.3% over 2009 and marked the third consecutive annual increase. In 2010, there were 46.2 million Americans living in poverty, which is up from 43.6 million in 20009, which marked the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number ever seen of American living in poverty since the beginning of the Census Bureau’s reports in 1959.
The Bureau also released information on the real median household income in the United States in 2010, which was $49,445, a 2.3% fall from the figure seen in 2009. Since 2007, the year prior to the recent recession, real median household income has fallen 6.4% and is 7.1% below the median household income peak that was seen in 1999, before the 2001 recession, the Bureau stated. This is the very first time since the Great Depression that the median household income after adjusting for inflation did not raise for an extended period.
Lawrence Katz, Harvard economics professor, stated, “This is truly a lost decade,” and went on to say, “We think of America as a place where every generation is doing better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.”
In addition, the figure of Americans that do not have health insurance increased from 49 million in 2009 to 49.9 million in 2010, with the overall percentage still at 16.3%, according to the Census report.
Retail sales hit $389.5 billion in August, which is the same as was seen in July and is 7.2% higher than what was seen in August of 2010 as reported by estimates by the Census Bureau.
Total sales for the period of June through August 2011 were up 7.9% from the same time a year ago. Retail trade sales were up 0.1% from July 2011 and 7.5% higher than last year. Gasoline station sales were up 20.8% t from August 2010 and non-store retailer’s sales were up 10.4% over last year.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 0.4% in the month of August, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The seasonally adjusted rose in the “all items” index was broad-based, with continuing raise in the indexes for gasoline, food, shelter and apparel. The gasoline index increased for the 12th time in the last 14 months which led to a 1.2% rise in the energy index, while the food index increased 0.5%, which is the largest increase seen since the month of March.
The Bureau reported the Producer Price Index for finished goods was unchanged in the month of August. A 1.1% rise in finished consumer foods prices and a 0.1% advance in the index for finished goods less foods and energy offset a 1.0% fall in prices for finished energy goods.
The Producer Price Index for intermediate materials, supplies, and components declined 0.5% in the month of August, the first decrease since the month of July 2010. The Producer Price Index for crude materials for further processing rose 0.2% in the month of August.
First unemployment claims was at 428,000 for the week that ended on Sept 10, a rise of 11,000 from the prior week’s revised figure of 417,000, according to the Employment and Training Administration. The four-week moving average was 419,500, a rise of 4,000 from the previous week’s average of 415,500.
Insured unemployed workers during the week that ended on September 3 were 3,726,000, a decline of 12,000 from the prior week’s level of 3,738,000. The four-week moving average was 3,741,000, a rise of 1,250 from the prior week’s average of 3,739,750.
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