Recession | St. Louis Public Radio


Is The Middle Class Eroding? You Weigh In

Jul 28, 2014

This is a follow-up to Monday's "St. Louis on the Air" show about the middle class. Hear the audio from that show and read Kyle Jacoby's story to find out what the experts said about the middle class, the economy and the American Dream.

You've heard it before: The rich get richer while the poor get poorer. But what about those in the middle?

Flickr/Rob Lee

The rich are getting richer. The top 5 percent of earners in the U.S. accounted for nearly 40 percent of personal consumption expenditures in 2012, according to the Institute for New Economic Thinking. That is up from 28 percent in 1995. 

(via Flickr/MoneyPit)

Younger families are not recovering as quickly from the recession as their elders.

An analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that families headed by someone younger than 40 have recovered only about one-third of their pre-recession wealth.

Meanwhile older families have nearly regained their pre-crisis level of wealth.

So, why are those under 40 having a harder time recovering?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 27, 2008 - Recessions don't take a holiday, and Tuesday's numbers on home sales were more proof of what economists have been warning: This is far from over.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 27, 2008 - Heat-Up St. Louis knows the drill.

Requests for energy assistance tend to spike following snowy and icy conditions such as those that swept through the area recently. This year, though, has been different. Many households were desperate for help long before the start of winter.

This article first appeared in the St Louis Beacon, Dec. 17, 2008 - The Federal Reserve's decision to cut an important interest rate to a record low of 0.25 percent begs the question: What's next? Goose eggs?

The Fed vowed Tuesday that it would take aggressive action in the face of the worsening recession, including cutting its target interest rate of 1 percent by three-quarters. The interest rate is an overnight bank lending rate known as the federal funds rate. In a statement released at the conclusion of a two-day meeting, the Fed also said that interest rates would remain low "for some time" and that it would consider other efforts to boost the economy, such as the purchase of U.S. Treasury bonds.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 5, 2008 - Economic expansion, which began in November 2001, ended in December 2007. Although it took some time, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the widely recognized arbiter of when recessions begin and end, has made the call. The U.S. economy officially has been in a recession for about a year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 2, 2008 - When economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research announced on Monday that the United States has been in a recession since December 2007, the stock market took another plunge.

2008. person getting haircut. 300 pixels
Kristen Hare | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 30, 2008 - People are eating out less, we know that. They're staying home more, saving money for that tank of gas and gallon of milk. That's the consumer side of the story.

But what about people who make their living off of consumer culture? Do real estate agents spend their days playing solitaire? Are waiters giving up their aprons for that acting career? Do travel agents shiver when they hear about stay-cations, the newest trend in travel where people stay home.