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Download American Progress Senior Economist Christian Weller’s entire testimony: PDF

Although the economy is showing signs of growth, a closer look reveals that the U.S. economy is still bifurcated. Output expanded at a strong pace in the second half of 2003. At the same time, millions of Americans still cannot find the jobs that they want and desperately need.

The first “job loss” recovery since World War II has taken its toll on America’s working families. The economy lacks millions of jobs that typically should have been created at this point in a recovery. Because employment growth has been negative or slow for most of the recovery, wage growth has also been flat. While working families don’t see big gains in their paychecks, prices for important consumer items – such as education, housing, and health care – are outpacing prices for other items. Caught in this squeeze, households have borrowed record amounts of debt. Despite historically low interest rates, the debt service burden of households is near record highs. More…

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