U.S. economy took a dive in the 2000s, a lost decade for workers


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Published in The Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2010 by Neil Irwin

For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different.
The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation’s growth.
It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. A decade that began in a moment of triumphalism and the idea among some economists that recessions were a thing of the past has included two of them — bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.

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