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Middle-class income hit an all-time high last year, U.S. Census says

[WASHINGTON] Middle-class income rose to a record level in 2017 as the strong economy lifted the fortunes of more Americans, the US Census reported Wednesday.

The median US household earned US$61,400 last year, meaning half of the families in the country brought in more income than this and half earned less.

Middle-class household income has been rising steadily in recent years as the economy has rebounded from the deep recession and millions of Americans have found jobs again. The extra pay from having another person in the home working is the largest factor contributing to the increase in income.

Last year marked the first time ever that middle-class incomes were above US$60,000. Households can vary in size from a single person to multiple adults and children residing under the same roof, but the average US household has 2.6 people. Median household income is generally viewed as the best gauge of how a typical middle-class home is faring financially.

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Economists have been worried about why wage growth has been so sluggish lately, but Americans appear to be compensating for that by working longer hours or having another family member find employment. Job openings hit a record high in July, the Labor Department reported this week, and there are now more jobs available than unemployed workers.

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