Poor Marcia Fudge.
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – or perhaps his social media manager – decided to make the simple observation that, unlike many other countries, the US economy is now stronger than it was before the pandemic.
launch a counterattack.
The tweet triggered a storm of reactions, with many pointing to a major pandemic that has killed nearly 838,000 Americans, and others noting that the wealthiest Americans have been the main beneficiaries over the years.
Here is a sample of the response.
Fudge himself replied saying, Hey, we feel your pain.
But first, a review of the numbers. Yes, the US economy, as measured by GDP, is now high. In the third quarter, real GDP was a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $19.48 trillion. It was $19.2 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019. And remember, real GDP means it’s factored in for inflation.
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK have not achieved this feat, according to FactSet Research data. (China’s GDP topped the peak at the pandemic’s peak, although their typical family is much poorer than Western rivals.)
But more than that, you can even say that the typical American has also recovered, if not by a huge amount.
The Census Department has yet to publish its latest estimate of median household income – it only comes out once a year – but estimates can be obtained using more timely data on inflation, wages and income. Blog political calculations, for example, Estimated median household income in November was $72,353, slightly above the previous inflation-adjusted peak of $72,079.
Other measures also showed improvement. The unemployment rate of 3.9% in December, for example, is well below a recession high of 14.7%, and is within striking distance of a pre-pandemic low of 3.5%. The employment-to-population ratio of 59.5% still has a way of catching the pre-pandemic peak of 61.2%, but is well above the depth of 51.3%. Wages are picking up for the lower end of the spectrum.
However, inflation has had an impact on consumer sentiment. In November, consumer prices rose 6.9% over the past 12 months, the most in decades, and data sets released Wednesday could push that number up to 7%.
One final number: Gallup last month put the approval rating of Fudge’s boss, President Joe Biden, at 43%, just one point above his presidency low of 42%.