It’s the recession that shows no signs of slowing.
According to a new Associated Press survey of economists, think tanks and academics, the official poverty rate will soon rise to 15.7%, the highest level since 1965.
Experts point to the economy’s long-term changes (such as globalization, outsourcing and immigration) to explain lower incomes. On top of that, the rise in the number of underemployed and discouraged workers has hurt families and individuals alike.
The numbers reiterate familiar news: Americans are making less, even as they work harder. In fact, the North Carolina Justice Center just released a report that found that for the first time in three decades, the productivity of state workers is going up without a corresponding increase in wages. As a result, the state now faces the “worst wage inequality seen in 30 years.”
According to the AP, one in six Americans lived below the poverty line last year–about 47 million people. In contrast, before the recession, the poverty rate stood at about 12.5%. In the coming years, experts predict that the poverty rate will remain between 15% and 16% until at least 2014.
With North Carolina—as well as 49 other states—facing important budget decisions (including whether or not to expand their Medicare coverage), these numbers bring another challenge during an important election year.