The following chart shows the nominal (red) and inflation-adjusted (blue) trends for median household income in the United States from January 2000 through October 2020. The inflation-adjusted figures are presented in terms of constant October 2020 U.S. dollars.
The chart confirms an upward trajectory for median household income in both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms, point to the ongoing recovery from the bottom of the coronavirus recession.
Significant upward revisions were made to the BEA’s aggregate personal wage and salary income data from April 2020 (+0.4%) through September 2020 (+1.4%). The changes were such that we’re now showing July 2020 as the bottom for the coronavirus recession-related decline of median household income, which now we now estimate to be $65,857 based on the BEA’s revised data. This is a 1.2% decline from the pre-recession peak of $66,654 recorded for March 2020.
Other Analyst’s Notes
Sentier Research suspended reporting its monthly Current Population Survey-based estimates of median household income, concluding their series with data for December 2019 before ceasing to operate in early 2020, as its principals would appear to have permanently retired. In their absence, we are providing the estimates from our alternate methodology for estimating median household income on a monthly basis. Our data sources are presented in the following section.
Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: January 2000 through December 2019. [Excel Spreadsheet with Nominal Median Household Incomes for January 2000 through January 2013 courtesy of Doug Short]. [PDF Document]. Accessed 6 February 2020. [Note: We've converted all data to be in terms of current (nominal) U.S. dollars.]
U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers – (CPI-U), U.S. City Average, All Items, 1982-84=100. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 12 November 2020. Accessed: 12 November 2020.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Population. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 25 November 2020. Accessed: 25 November 2020.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Compensation of Employees, Received: Wage and Salary Disbursements. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 25 November 2020. Accessed: 25 November 2020.
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