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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

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

What's really going on with the labor market

Source: YCharts

The labor market is showing some signs of improvement: Jobless claims fell to 730,000 — a dramatic drop from 841,000 the previous week. And the latest jobs report showed a pandemic-era low unemployment rate of 6.3%

But, but, but: That's not the full story, experts say.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Markets see rare convergence milestone

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

A milestone was reached in the markets Thursday: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to match the dividend yield on the S&P 500

Why it matters: The two yields have been inverted since the beginning of last year, which is historically unusual.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

First look: Business puts muscle behind Biden

Business Roundtable, the voice of America's top CEOs, today launched "Move the Needle," a campaign to support President Biden in rolling out COVID vaccines, increasing vaccine uptake and encouraging masks.

What they're saying: "Masks and vaccines are working. Now is the time to keep at it, overcome pandemic fatigue, and double down on the measures that will end this public health and economic crisis, said Business Roundtable president and CEO Josh Bolten.