Median household income headlines are misleading

Household income is off its historical highs.

Nevil Speer

September 22, 2016

2 Min Read
Median household income headlines are misleading

During the past several weeks, this column has focused on the state of the general economy and potential implications for beef demand and the beef industry.  The columns highlighted several key economic indicators, including:

Let’s continue that discussion by looking at household income, which has been actively reported on during the past week. The interest by the media was generated when the U.S. Census Bureau released new data related to median household income. The headlines have generally read something to the effect of, “household income up 5% in 2015.” 

This week’s graph provides some historical context around the new data. Indeed, real household income increased 5% to $56,500 in 2015 versus 2014 ($53,700). However, the longer view provides a somewhat different perspective. 

real median U.S. household income

The three-year moving average equals $54,920. Meanwhile, the 2015 mark still falls short compared to previous peak years in which the median income exceeded $57,000. Those years were 1999, 2000 and 2007. In other words, household income still hasn’t fully recovered to its prior peak established in 2007 just before the financial crisis.

Considering the previous discussions, and in light of this new data, how do you interpret the current state of the economy? Is the U.S. tracking amidst economic recovery? Or will the economy sputter in the coming years? Given your assessment, what implications might that have on beef demand and agriculture? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Nevil Speer is based in Bowling Green, Ky., and serves as vice president of U.S. operations for AgriClear, Inc. – a wholly-owned subsidiary of TMX Group Limited. The views and opinions of the author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TMX Group Limited and Natural Gas Exchange Inc.


You might also like:

Young ranchers, listen up: 8 tips from an old-timer on how to succeed in ranching

Burke Teichert: How to cull the right cow without keeping records

3 weaning methods compared; Which one rises to the top?

6 tips for proper electric fence grounding

Market outlook: Are cattle traders trying to catch a falling knife?

60+ stunning photos that showcase ranch work ethics

About the Author(s)

Nevil Speer

Nevil Speer serves as an industry consultant and is based in Bowling Green, KY.

Nevil Speer has extensive experience and involvement with the livestock and food industry including various service and consultation projects spanning such issues as market competition, business and economic implications of agroterrorism, animal identification, assessment of price risk and market volatility on the producer segment, and usage of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
Dr. Speer writes about many aspects regarding agriculture and the food industry with regular contribution to BEEF and Feedstuffs.  He’s also written several influential industry white papers dealing with issues such as changing business dynamics in the beef complex, producer decision-making, and country-of-origin labeling.
He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture.
Dr. Speer holds both a PhD in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

Contact him at [email protected].

Subscribe to Our Newsletters
BEEF Magazine is the source for beef production, management and market news.

You May Also Like