Thursday, June 20, 2013

10 ways the middle class is still getting squeezed by Kim Peterson

Despite an economic recovery that has lifted stocks to new highs, middle-income Americans are still feeling the pressure from all sides.

Feeling pinched

A thriving middle class is the sign of a healthy national economy. But in the U.S., the middle class is getting hit on all sides. Prices are going up and middle-income jobs are disappearing. The housing market is still tough to get into, particularly for those who lost homes to foreclosure. And while the economy may finally be turning around, and the richest Americans gained wealth throughout the recovery, the middle class is still struggling.

The nation's economic midsection is shrinking, too. In fact, only about 51% of U.S. adults lived in middle-income households in the U.S. in 2010, down from 61% in 1970, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization and the International Institute for Labour Studies. What's more, middle-class earners saw their median income fall by 5% in that time.

Will it get better anytime soon? Don't bet on it. In fact, just when families were starting to get back on their feet, their paychecks took a hit in January when a Social Security payroll tax cut expired. Most U.S. households are now seeing their highest tax burdens since 2008, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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