State of the Union: Economy - for many, a slow recovery
January 27th, 2014
11:07 AM ET
9 years ago

State of the Union: Economy - for many, a slow recovery

(CNN) - President Barack Obama entered office amid the deepest recession since the Great Depression. Five years later, the economy is certainly on stronger footing than it was back then, but deep scars remain.

At around $16 trillion a year, the United States produces more in annual economic output than ever before. Home prices are rising again, businesses have been adding jobs for four straight years and the stock market recently reached all-time highs.

CNN's live, comprehensive coverage of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address starts at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday. Go to for complete coverage or take it with you on your iPhone, iPad or Android.

However, Americans are not feeling fully recovered.

Families earning about $400,000 a year or more – the richest 1% in the country – got 95% of the income gains in the recovery period spanning 2009 to 2012, according to economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez.

Meanwhile, corporate profits are growing faster than businesses are creating jobs, and the economy still has not gained back all the 8.7 million jobs lost in the recession. Even though the unemployment rate has been falling, it's partly due to workers dropping out of the labor force.

What about those stock market gains? They benefit only about half of Americans, and disproportionately go to wealthy, white, college-educated people, thereby broadening the gap between rich and poor in the country.

The 48 million Americans receiving food stamps are an all-time high, and the poverty rate has remained above 15% for three years in a row.

For these people, a full recovery could still be years away.

Filed under: • Economy • State of the Union
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