US incomes rose but inequality widened in 2017

Americans' incomes rise, but annual gains are slowing

Middle class income smashed expectations and reached an "all-time high" across the United States in 2017, according to new statistics released by the United States Census Bureau.

But by other measures, the USA economy is still not working for everyone.

On an inflation-adjusted basis, that was up 1.8% from 2016, a much slower increase than in the previous two years but still the highest point on record.

Real median earnings of all male workers increased 3.0 percent in 2017 while the earnings of female counterparts stayed stagnant.

FILE PHOTO: A sign advertises open jobs at an Embassy Suites hotel in Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S., December 13, 2017.

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The increase in household income over the past year comes as the poverty rate in America has declined and more Americans are participating in the workforce. "In 2017, however, well-worn patterns of inequality reemerged, with stronger growth at the top than for typical households", Gould added.

While the report showed rising household incomes and lower share of the population in poverty, it also highlighted the limits of the strengthening economy.

The jump in overall income in Wednesday's report showcases the US economy's recovery from the 2007-09 recession that was felt by many American households in 2017, largely driven by a robust labor market.

The Census also reported that the USA poverty rate declined modestly to 12.3 percent, the lowest level in years and a sign the economic devastation from the Great Recession is subsiding.

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