Seven years since the recession began: How America is faring

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Seven years since the recession began

Although the economy has grown steadily, at 2.3% a year, this has disappointed forecasters and led many to downgrade America’s long-term potential growth rate.

The typical family has yet to make up the ground lost during the recession and its aftermath; the wealthy and well educated have done much better.

After ballooning because of recession and stimulus, the budget deficit has returned to normal. But as Americans age and demand more pills and pensions, it will rise again.

After declining for five years the unemployment rate is almost back to normal, thanks to solid job growth and the fact that millions have retired or given up looking for work. The labour-force participation rate is the lowest it has been since the 1970s.

Low interest rates and shrinking inventory have helped home prices recover since the crash. But the proportion of Americans who own homes has fallen, thanks to high unemployment and tougher mortgage lending standards.

The national debt shot up in the …

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