Good news for the 99%...absolutely killer news for the 1%

Sean Parker: Wealth gap puts people in 'unsustainable' position
Sean Parker: Wealth gap puts people in 'unsustainable' position

Score one for the little guy.

The 99% finally saw their incomes grow in 2014, according to a new analysis by UC Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez. Family income rose 3.3% after inflation, the first meaningful gain in 15 years.

That's because the unemployment rate fell substantially last year, Saez said. More than 2.95 million jobs were created, and the jobless rate fell to 5.6%.

But though the 99% saw their incomes rise, the Top 1% did even better. They saw their income jump 10.8% last year, and they captured 58% of the income growth for the year, said Saez, whose findings are based on his analysis of tax returns.

Because of that, income inequality continued to rise last year too.

The average family income for the Bottom 99% was $47,200 last year. The Top 1%, meanwhile, had an average income of $1.3 million. It took $423,000 just to get into the Top 1%.

chart income growth

Looking longer term, 2014 also helped the 99% recover more of the losses they suffered during the Great Recession. These families have now made up slightly less than 40% of the declines suffered in the economic downturn.

The income of the 99% has risen 4.3% since the recession ended in 2009, compared to a 27.1% gain for the Top 1%.

While the income of the 99% may continue to grow if the economy remains strong, inequality may continue to widen.

"The depressing fact is that there is no good reason to believe inequality will come down on its own from its current extremely high level," Saez said.

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