Economy Has Hit Bottom, Census Suggests

On the bright side, there's nowhere to go but up, census suggests
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2012 7:08 AM CDT
Updated Sep 20, 2012 7:48 AM CDT
An oil truck passes a "now hiring" sign, Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in Kennedy, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(Newser) – Are you a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty type? Because that will have a lot to do with how you read the American Community Survey, a compilation of 2011 Census data and unofficial figures from the first quarter of 2012 giving us a glimpse at the US economy. With that much data you're bound to find both positive and negative signs. For instance:

  • Half empty: Poverty increased for the fourth consecutive year, NPR observes.
  • Half full: But it rose at a slower rate than it has in any of the previous three reports. "There's at least a hint that we've hit bottom in this post-recession malaise," one demographer says, because "we're going down at a slower pace."

  • Half empty: The national median income fell 1.3%, and it fell a lot more than that in states that saw big hits in home values, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Half full: "These are also the states that boomed the most, so we're talking about a higher peak to fall from," one economist says.
  • Half empty: Homeownership is down for a fifth straight year to 64.6%, the AP reports.
  • Half full: But Americans are on the move again, with about 12% moving, up from a record low of 11.6%, which is generally a positive sign. Even better: More young adults are moving out of their parents' homes.
  • Half full: More good news for young adults: Many are benefiting from ObamaCare's provision allowing them to stay on their parents' health insurance. That provision alone sent the number of insured up 3.5%.
  • Half empty: This one has nothing to do with the Census, but with two half-fulls in a row we thought you might be getting cocky. A new European Union survey that gauges business activity came in drastically lower than expected, pointing to a possible deepening of the economic recession there, the AP reports.
(Read more economic indicators stories.)

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