Economy improves...incomes don'tMarch 6, 2012: 12:16 PM ET
Even though the national economy is on the upswing, many Americans haven't been reaping the benefits.
In fact, the median household income in January was $50,020, or 5.4% lower than it was in June 2009, the beginning of the economic recovery, according to a new estimate from Sentier Research, based on Census data.
This decline in income comes despite improvements in the job market. The unemployment rate stood to 8.3% in January, down from 9.5% when the recovery started.
The longer-term view is even more depressing. Median income is down 7.8% since the recession began in December 2007 and 8.7% since January 2000.
Though jobs are coming back, many of them are lower-wage positions in retail stores, restaurants and temporary help. A report released Monday by Intuit showed that small businesses continued to add positions in February, but they were mainly on the lower end of the pay scale.
Many higher-paying jobs -- particularly in construction and financial services -- were lost during the Great Recession. And these sectors haven't recovered to their prior strengths.