Fewer and fewer people are feeling middle class these days.
The share of Americans who describe themselves as middle class has taken a tumble, while the percentage who identify as lower class has soared over the past six years, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center/USA Today. The share of Americans who consider themselves upper class has also shrunk.
This downward shift is likely due to falling wages and the weak job market, said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director for research at the Pew Research Center's Hispanic Trends Project. The survey notes that median household income fell from $55,627 in 2007 to $51,017 in 2012, the most recent Census data available. And employment in middle-skill jobs increased only 46% between 1980 and 2009, compared to 110% for low-skill jobs, according to a New York Federal Reserve Bank analysis.
"Despite the economic recovery, the economic mood continues to head south," Kochhar said.
The share of young folks age 18 to 29 who feel part of the lower class has nearly doubled in the past six years. This age group has been particularly hard hit by the Great Recession and still struggles with unemployment rates higher than the national average. The rate for those age 18 to 29 was 9.5% in December, compared to 6.5% among all adults. (These figures are non-seasonally adjusted.)
College graduates have also seen a downward slide in their perceived social standing. While the share who feel they are in the middle class has stayed roughly the same, the percentage in the upper class shrunk, while the share in the lower class grew. This suggests that the rich felt they slid back into the middle class, and some in the middle felt they slipped down to the lower class.
You might think you're working harder, but more employees now have access to paid time off from the job than two decades ago.
The share of employees with access to paid sick time, personal days and family leave, as well as bereavement days and military leave, has risen substantially since 1992-1993, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The prevalence of vacation days slipped a bit, however.
"The type of leave is MORETami Luhby - Aug 15, 2013 5:00 AM ET
Lots of people laid off during the recession are landing new jobs ... but they are making a whole lot less.
Some 52% of unemployed people surveyed recently by Rutgers University found new positions within six months of losing their jobs.
But roughly an equal share of the unemployed who landed new jobs had to settle for pay cuts, according to the report by Rutgers' Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.
Here are the MORETami Luhby - Feb 11, 2013 8:10 AM ET
Though blacks' job prospects have improved from the depths of the Great Recession, they still suffer from disproportionately high unemployment.
Pegged to Black History Month, the U.S. Congress' Joint Economic Committee put out a stats sheet highlighting the gap. It takes longer, on average, for black workers for find a job, and even having a college degree doesn't help as much as it does for other job-seeking populations. The black unemployment rate MORETami Luhby - Feb 6, 2013 11:14 AM ET
Forget the "mancession" or the "he-covery." Men suffered the biggest job losses in the financial crisis, and also gained the most post-recession jobs.
But now, men and women have equal footing in the recovery.
As of November, both genders have gained back half the jobs they lost in the financial crisis, according to Labor Department data.
The recession hit male-dominated industries like construction and manufacturing, far harder than female-dominated industries like health care MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Dec 9, 2012 2:27 PM ET
Are Americans feeling more miserable than they were four years ago? According to the so-called "misery index," they're not -- a fact that boosts President Obama's chances of winning re-election.
The misery index combines the unemployment rate and the annual inflation rate and has accurately predicted the outcome of nine of the last 12 presidential elections, according to economists at Deutsche Bank.
When it rises, it's considered a sign of a weaker MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Oct 17, 2012 12:08 PM ET
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