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The Lasting Impact of the Great Recession

Americans are still feeling the impact of the Great Recession more than a decade later, as a nationwide Bankrate survey found that 48% of Americans who were adults in 2007 have seen no improvement in their financial situation.

According to the survey, 25% of respondents said their overall financial situation is about the same as it was in 2007, while 23% said their situation has worsened. All this despite the country experiencing 104-consecutive months of job growth and record-low unemployment.

"The echoes of the financial crisis and the Great Recession remain very present in the financial lives of many Americans, despite the improvement in the broader economy,” says Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s Senior Economic Analyst. “While some have managed to prosper in the decade since, there are still tens of millions who are struggling to even get back to where they were before the economy took a turn for the worse.”

Of the 2,740 adults surveyed by Bankrate, 43% said there are better off than before the recession, and 33% said their financial situation is about the same.

Bankrate also reports that 55% said the recession had a negative impact on their lives, with two in 10 Americans saying their homes lost value, 19% lost money in the stock market, 19% incurred “substantial debt,” and 15% said either they, or their partner, lost a job. Additionally, 7% of respondents depleted their emergency funds and 6% dipped into their savings.

Thirty-one percent said they felt no negative impact from the recession.

The survey continues by saying a factor contributing to uneven recovery is stagnant wage growth, as 54% of respondents said their wages haven’t recovered to pre-recession levels, and 31% said there wages are worse. 

Gary Burtless, senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said the slow wage growth during a time of historic lows in unemployment has "been the puzzle of the economic recovery.”

“We haven’t seen very much acceleration in wage gains or in the compensation per hour gains of American workers. That’s something of a mystery,” Burtless said.

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.
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