TRUE Facts

Wall Street Bonuses vs. Normal Pay

Beginning in the 1990s, Wall Street bonuses began to take off, and were downright astronomical by 2006. And even when Wall-Street bonuses dipped during the financial crisis, they still did not, according to this chart, come anywhere near worker’s annual salary.

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Over-Reliance On The Financial Sector

Beginning in the 1980s, as this chart from 13 Bankers by Simon Johnson and James Kwak illustrates, the financial sector’s profits began to wildly outpace profits in the nonfinancial sector. When the 2008 crisis hit, the financial sector’s profits plummeted, briefly falling below the nonfinancial sector. But they’ve since rebounded to pre-crisis levels — that is, it’s back to “business as usual,” says James Kwak.

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Household Debt as Percent of GDP Q4 2009

While household debt as percentage of GDP has declined from its 2008 peak, debt levels are still historically very high. In 1952, as this chart from Calculated Risk shows, household debt was less than 30 percent of GDP. The rate hit 50 percent in 1985 and then picked up speed, topping 90 percent by the mid-aughts

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Economic Activity Falling

Economic activity fell in half of U.S. states over the past three months, according to this map that Calculated Risk pulled from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

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Top 400 U.S. Earners See Income Rise 476% In Last 15 Years

Between 1992 and 2007, the richest of America’s rich — the top-earning 400 households — saw their earnings soar at a rate that greatly outpaced the median family income, according to the Economic Policy Institute, which supplied this graph. While the incomes of the 400 highest-earning American households grew 409 percent in the period, because their tax rates simultaneously fell, their after-tax incomes shot up an incredible 476%.

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Income Inequality In The United States Is At An All-Time High

A study by Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, who created this chart, illustrates that by 2007 (the most recent year for which data is available), the share of total income going to the top ten percent of the population soared to highs not seen since the Great Depression — and then exceeded them.

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Long-Term Unemployment

This graph, which comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, charts the median length of unemployment over several decades. As of March 2010, the median unemployed worker had spent 20 weeks out of work — a strikingly long period by historical standards. (And the average, over 31 weeks, was even higher.

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Commercial Lending Fell Off A Cliff

This chart from the Saint Louis Federal Reserve (hate tip to Seeking Alpha) should worry anyone running a small business.

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U.S. Foreclosure Activity Jumps in the First Quarter of 2010

This chart from RealtyTrac shows that although there was a dip in the fourth quarter, U.S. foreclosure activity jumped back up in the first quarter of 2010, close to its peak in the third quarter of 2009.

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Employees Who Work Part-Time For Economic Reasons

This chart from Calculated Risk shows that while the number of people working part-time it’s still historically very high.

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