The U.S. Census Bureau released the American Community Survey yesterday, and the broad study of poverty, inequality and youth mobility failed to present strong evidence that the recession has fully subsided. Instead, the study tells a familiar tale of winners and losers in the wake of the recession.
According to the report, poverty increased between 2010 and 2011. NPR reports on the findings:
The number of Americans living in poverty grew to 15.9 percent in 2011. It was 15.3 in 2010. That means that 48.5 million Americans had an income below the poverty level.
Poverty increased by greater margins in the three years prior, but the uptick, however slight, casts real doubt on an economic turnaround. Notably, an additional 2.3 million would have fallen into poverty without 2011′s extended unemployment benefits, and the poverty rolls could expand as jobless benefits expire.
There’s no pleasing stock traders. No sooner had European financial ministers granted Spain’s banks a $125 billion bailout than investors began worrying about Italy’s ability to pay its national debt – and to pitch in to save Spain. According to The New York Times, “[b]ecause Italy does not have enough economic growth to generate the money itself, the government will probably have to borrow it at high interest rates, adding to an already heavy debt load.” The Times on Monday quoted Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s pessimism: “There is a permanent risk of contagion.”
Although the mention of a European economic plague certainly makes ears stand up, the continent’s continual financial woes more resemble a Möbius strip of dominoes. With each new agreement to save one of the Mediterranean PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain), a new panic spreads on the floors of Europe’s stock exchanges.