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Poverty Rate Decline 10/13/16

Despite ongoing frustration with slow wage growth in many American households, recently released census data indicate that three point five million Americans were able to to stretch above the poverty line last year.  Much of this is due to faster wage growth among retailers, restaurants and hotels, the types of businesses that hire lots of entry level and near entry-level workers. 

Lower unemployment is inducing many employers to pay workers a bit more.  New minimum wage requirements have also helped to push wages higher in certain communities.  As indicated by writer Patricia Cohen, poverty declined among every group last year, with African Americans and Hispanics, who account for more than forty five percent of those below the poverty line in most states, experienced the most significant improvement. 

All told, the poverty rate declined by an impressive one point two percentage points last year, the largest annual decline since nineteen ninety nine.  Poverty is likely continuing to decline with the U.S. adding significant number of jobs.  Still, roughly forty three million Americans, more than fourteen million of whom are children, are official classified as poor.   

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.