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Record-long U.S. economic expansion fuels inequality

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 2, 2019 - Duration: 02:47s

Record-long U.S. economic expansion fuels inequality

The rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer during the past decade as the U.S. economy celebrates the longest-ever period without a recession.

Conway G.

Gittens reports

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Record-long U.S. economic expansion fuels inequality

The U.S. economy is now in its longest uninterrupted expansion ever.

10 years of non-stop growth emerging from the rubble of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

But during this recovery, something unexpected happened: Some of those hardest hit during the financial crisis are even worse off than they were 10 years ago... while the rich got richer and the big got bigger.

Reuters correspondent Trevor Hunnicutt points to a recent record real estate deal.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT TREVOR HUNNICUTT, SAYING: "So we're standing in front of the most expensive home in the United States of America.

It's a penthouse at the top of this apartment building.

It overlooks Central Park here in Manhattan and hedge fund boss Ken Griffin bought it for $238 million and what that shows us is how much this 10-year expansion, this 10 years without a recession in the United States has done for the extremely wealthy." This may be the address with the biggest price tag, but another building finished during the recovery is historic for a different reason.

Soaring just about 14-hundred feet into the skyline, 432 Park Avenue is the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere.

And it's not just the size and price of real estate that's gone up.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): REUTERS BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT CONWAY G.

GITTENS, SAYING: "The investor class has done quite well despite a few hiccups along the way.

During this record-long economic expansion, the value of the stock market as represented by the S&P 500 has more than tripled.

So what's the value of the stock market now?

It's worth around $26 trillion." A lot of that surge coming from tech heavy hitters that have gained even more clout in the past 10 years - Amazon, Apple and Microsoft - each made history by becoming the first U.S. companies to ever top $1 trillion in stock market value.

But the gap between the haves and have-nots has only gotten worse, squeezing more out of the lower and middle class.

40 million Americans are now receiving food stamps, up from 28 million 10 years ago... Despite this decade-long economic rebound, a recent Fed survey of household finances found large numbers of Americans still struggle to pay their monthly bills... And in California, the country's most populous state, homelessness has surged - with a record number of deaths in Los Angeles county.

Tent cities have taken over sidewalks and parks.

At last official count, there were 130,000 homeless citizens across the state.

And there's little relief in sight on the home front.

According to property data provider Attom, U.S. housing affordability over the past year has dropped to lows not seen since the financial crisis.

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