Thursday, September 15, 2011

Double Dip Recession

US poor hit record 46m in 2010PDFPrint
Written by Reuters   
Wednesday, 14 September 2011

WASHINGTON: The number of Americans living below the poverty line rose to a record 46 million last year, the government said on Tuesday, Sept 13 underscoring the challenges facing President Barack Obama and Congress as they try to tackle high unemployment and a moribundeconomy

The Census Bureau's annual report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage said the national poverty rate climbed for a third consecutive year to 15.1 percent in 2010 as the economy struggled to recover from the recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.

That marked a 0.8 percent increase from 2009, when there were 43.6 million Americans living in poverty.

The number of poor Americans in 2010 was the largest in the 52 years that the Census Bureau has been publishing poverty estimates, the report said, while the poverty rate was the highest since 1993.

The specter of economic deterioration also afflicted working Americans who saw their median income decline 2.3 percent to an annual $49,445.

About 1.5 million fewer Americans were covered by employer-sponsored health insurance plans, while the number of people covered by government health insurance increased by nearly 2 million.

All told, the number of Americans with no health insurance hovered at 49.9 million, up slightly from 49 million in 2010.

The economic deterioration depicted by the figures is likely to have continued into 2011 as economic growth diminished, unemployment remained stuck above 9 percent and fears grew of a possible double-dip recession.

The report of rising poverty coincides with Obama's push for a $450 billion job creation package, and deliberations by a congressional "super committee" tasked with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from the budget deficit over 10 years.

Faced with deteriorating job approval ratings, the president is trying to convince Republicans in Congress to support his package.

Analysts said poverty-related issues have relatively little hold on politicians in Washington but hoped the new figures would encourage the bipartisan super committee to avoid deficit cuts that would hurt the poor.

The United States has long had one of the highest poverty rates in the developed world. Among 34 countries tracked by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, only Chile, Israel and Mexico have higher rates of poverty. - Reuters

What Does Double-Dip Recession Mean?

When gross domestic product (GDP) growth slides back to negative after a quarter or two of positive growth. A double-dip recession refers to a recession followed by a short-lived recovery, followed by another recession. 

The causes for a double-dip recession vary but often include a slowdown in the demand for goods and services because of layoffs and spending cutbacks from the previous downturn.

A double-dip (or even triple-dip) is a worst-case scenario. Fear that the economy will move back into a deeper and longer recession makes recovery even more difficult

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