Most Americans Are No Longer Middle Class

Dec 10, 2015

Most Americans are no longer in the middle class, according to the Pew Research Center. The country has about 120.8 million adults living in middle-income households, a new Pew study found. That compares with the 121.3 million who are living in either upper- or lower-income households.

Chabeli Herrera

Next week, something may happen for the U.S. economy that hasn’t happened in more than a decade -- the Federal Reserve could raise its target interest rate. It’s not expected to be a big hike, but with the job market adding work and wages slowing increasing, the Fed is growing more confident in the American economy. To hear how higher interest rates could affect jobs, paychecks and housing in South Florida, we spoke with Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Nzingah Designs

The holiday shopping season is just getting started and among the flurry is a special focus on small businesses.

Tomorrow (Nov. 28) is Small Business Saturday— it’s a day that encourages consumers to shop small and local businesses. American Express started the day in 2010 to coincide with the shopping boom that immediately follows Thanksgiving. Last year, customers spent $14.3 billion at independent stores on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express.

The Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust held a daylong summit in downtown Miami to talk about the needs of Miami’s black communities.

Some of the topics discussed were housing strategies and equal participation of black business owners in development projects.

Here's what some of the attendees had to say:

T. Willard Fair, president of the Urban League of Greater Miami:  Black politicians in Miami-Dade have done "zero" to build black wealth in black neighborhoods.

Screen shot / U.S. Department of Education

Lots of schools promise to train students to be nurses, technicians or for other in-demand medical careers. But a new federal database shows that isn’t always the case.

At some schools,  only a small percentage of students who attend using federal grants or loans earn more than a high school graduate a decade after enrolling in college.

The data links students who received federal financial aid to what they reported earning on their tax forms a decade later.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

It would have been tough to beat June’s housing numbers, a month when Miami-Dade County set an all-time record for single-family home sales.

While South Florida as a whole saw a slight drop compared to June, July’s sales were still about 14-percent higher than July last year, according to a report from Florida Realtors.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

The financial news service Bloomberg created a list of the 50 wealthiest small towns in America and only one is in Florida: Key West.

The southernmost city ranked 13th on the list. The index was created by measuring median income, percentage of households with income of more than $200,000, median home value and percentage of homes valued at more than $1 million.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Computer glitches interrupted service at The New York Stock Exchange, United Airlines and The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

The three technical issues don’t seem to be connected, and representatives from from all three were quick to point to hardware issues as the cause of the interruption and quell rumors of cyber attacks. The interruptions came after worrying declines on China's stock exchanges overnight.

gnerk on Flickr

A Broward County small-business owner is giving his employees hefty raises.

Andrew Green is the owner and CEO of Green Solutions in Fort Lauderdale. He recently decided to give his workers raises of between 35 and 50 percent.

“The responsibility lies on you to make sure that they can have a living wage without stressing day to day if they can make ends meet," says Green.

flguardian2 / Flickr Creative Commons

  Two big financial questions remain unanswered as the state Legislature enters its last days of the 2015 regular session – how will Florida's government spend money on health care and the environment?

Billions of dollars are on the line.

The dual debates over Medicaid and Amendment 1 are not linked except for the disagreement between Republicans, who control both houses of the Legislature, over how much money to spend on the health of Floridians and Florida's environment.

dsb nola / Flickr

New college graduates are finding it easier to land their first jobs -- and unemployment rates are dropping for most degree holders.

But paychecks are still getting smaller for most recent grads, according to a study from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce.

The study shows that unemployment was down for nearly every category of majors in 2012, the only exception being communications and journalism.

Upupa4me / flickr Creative Commons

Gas prices in Florida are going up.

Some gas stations are already increasing prices by about 10 cents and that’s normal around this time of the year.

According to the auto club AAA,  seasonal demand and maintenance are the causes for the gas price increase.

As we approach spring, prices usually rise between 30 and 35 cents.

But it’s not all that bad. Even when station gas prices do go up this spring, the national average is not expected to surpass $3 dollars a gallon.

When Jane Chu was growing up in Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, she remembers that her parents liked bok choy while she liked corn dogs. They spoke Mandarin and "book English," and that, she says, could only go so far when her father died when she was nine-years-old. But she played piano, and she says music is where she found a way to express emotions where words fell short.

Chu believes strongly in the ability of the arts to transform individuals, communities and the overall economy. 

Stewart Cutler / Flickr

This was originally posted on Dec. 23, 2014 from WMFE.

Impassioned reactions continue to pour in over the political and social implications of President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba. This week, 90.7 economic analyst Hank Fishkind takes Nicole Creston through the economic implications for Florida and for our region. 

On the President’s plan:


Florida is hosting eight of the 38 postseason games in college football – more than any other state. 

This season’s games will bring football fans from 15 out-of-state schools. State and local governments will get an economic boost as those fans flood theme parks, beaches and other attractions.