Yesterday, Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) gave the first in a series of speeches about the state of the U.S. economy. The full speech is here, and it is excerpted below:
The sad fact is that the state of middle- and lower-income Americans is worsening on nearly every front. The slow growth of the economy (the slowest economic recovery from a recession since World War II) is restraining the normal upward movement in income that previous generations have experienced. And, if you don’t have a job, you’re twice as likely to only find part-time as full-time work — if you can find any work at all.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, middle class incomes have declined for 18 years. Different parties, different presidents, different majorities in Congress. That means that savings for college and retirement are growing at all-time lows.
Young people are not marrying as early as they want, due to bad economic prospects. That means that families are launching later in life, which gives couples fewer years to pay down a mortgage or raise children.
Perhaps the single greatest source for economic anxiety for working Americans is the fear of losing their jobs.
Fewer people are working today than in 2007. That’s actual numbers — even though population has increased. Just before the recession hit in December of 2007, about 62.7 percent of the working-age population was working. If that same percentage was working today, we would have 154.1 million jobs. But we don’t. We have 144.2 million jobs and only 58.6 percent of the population is working.
In short, we’re missing 9.9 million jobs when we compare this economy to the one in 2007.