What rebound? 'I got left behind'

It is now five years since the Great Recession officially ended, but these CNNMoney readers still don't feel they've fully recovered from the downturn.

'Not enough focus on small town America'

what recovery greg hanners
  • Name: Greg Hanners, 49
  • Place: Columbia, Tenn.

We're just treading water like most middle class folks. Our biggest concern is saving for college for our 12-year-old son, and it's a goal that seems to be getting further out of reach each year.

The state colleges routinely raise tuition because the government keeps cutting education funds. I can guarantee you my salary is not growing that quickly.

I'm just lucky to have a job and keep it, but we're watching our pennies. I work for a global company focusing on planning and risk management, and in 2009 we had the first layoffs ever in our business unit. I felt kind of guilty when others in my department were let go or forced to take lower level jobs. One guy in his late 50s was laid off and he won't even talk to me anymore.

Our salaries were frozen for a couple of years and there were no bonuses, but we just hunkered down. My wife's part-time job as an adjunct at the local junior college during the recession was very hit-or-miss. Some semesters, she wouldn't have a job.

I live an hour away from Nashville and that city has weathered the storm fairly well, but in my local community, we still have high unemployment and there is not enough money to build a badly needed new high school or renovate our blighted downtown.

The rescue of General Motors has finally started to bring back some automotive industry jobs, but the only local businesses we see really growing are used car lots and payday lenders.

I am pretty sure my son will not come back here after college. There is just too little economic opportunity. Overall, I think growing inequality is a real threat to our country economically and politically, and there's not enough focus on small town America.

- Last updated August 05 2014 03:17 PM ET
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