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The median household earned more money in 2016 than ever before, according to new Census Bureau data. The typical family earned $59,039, up 3.2% compared to 2015 and beating the previous all-time high of $58,149 from 1999. (Census Bureau officials, however, warned that the the 2016 number isn't directly comparable to estimates from before 2014, when its survey was modified to capture more sources of income.)

Expand chart

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Why it's good news: 2016 was the second straight year for wage increases as a strong job market has raised wages for some and provided new jobs for the previously unemployed.

Why it's not so good news: Even if median income is at an all-time high, it's not very much higher than it was twenty years ago. As University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers writes this morning on Twitter, "The most amazing fact remains that Real Median Household income in 2016 is barely above that in 1999."

Point is, for the American middle class, it hasn't just been a lost decade. It's pretty much a lost two decades. An urgent economic crisis. — Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) September 12, 2017

Is it really a crisis? Not every economist would characterize the situation in such dire terms. The American Enterprise Institute's Mark Perry has pointed out that because household sizes have been declining over the years, median income per person has been rising at a faster rate than median household income. Another factor holding down income growth is the retirement of baby boomers — causing a wave of high earners to leave the labor market only to be replaced by younger folks not making as much.

Go deeper

Updated 4 mins ago - World

Russia says it fired warning shots at British destroyer in Black Sea

The HMS Defender in the port of Odessa on Ukraine's Black Sea coast on June 18. Photo: Konstantin Sazonchik\TASS via Getty Images

A Russian warship and fighter jet fired "warning" shots at the British Royal Navy’s HMS Defender destroyer for encroaching on waters near Crimea in the Black Sea, Russia's defense ministry said Wednesday.

The latest: The U.K.'s ministry of defense disputed that any warning shots were fired, saying in a statement, "We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity."

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: WaPo Trump book's secret title revealed

Cover: Penguin Press

The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker will be out July 20 with "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year," Penguin Press announced.

Breaking: Axios has learned that The Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender is moving "Frankly, We Did Win the Election" up to July 20, matching Leonnig-Rucker, from his earlier pub date of Aug. 10.

Shell and GM unveil partnership on Texas power and car-charging

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

General Motors and a Shell-owned power company will unveil a partnership on Wednesday aimed at providing renewable electricity to Texas customers and free overnight charging to state residents who own GM electric cars.

Why it matters: It’s a new way for two corporate giants to expand their operations in a way that lowers emissions at the customer and supplier level.