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Julianne Malveaux

Julianne Malveaux

(NNPA)—Between the unemployment rate report that was released in early September, and the Census report on income and poverty that was released on Sept. 13, President Obama and his team got great news about the economic status of the average worker.

Incomes are up a whopping 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015; it’s the first time incomes have increased since 2007. The poverty rate dropped 1.2 percentage points, to 13.5 percent, which translates into 3.5 million fewer people living in poverty. While the poverty rate is still higher than it was in 2007, this sharp decrease in the poverty rate is significant.  Between the unemployment rate report, which shows an unemployment rate at 4.9 percent, and the income and poverty report, which shows a 2.4 million increase in the number of workers, the Obama economic team can rightly assert that economic recovery has trickled down.

Still, poverty rates are way too high—almost one in four (24.1 percent) African American households lives in poverty.   The number of African American children in poverty, though falling, remains too high (31.6 percent).  And the number of people living in “extreme poverty” (with incomes at less than half the poverty line) is alarming — more than 10 percent of African Americans (and 6 percent of the total population) live in extreme poverty.

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