From the very end of David Leonhardt's article yesterday:

The median household earned $48,201 in 2006, down from $49,244 in 1999, according to the Census Bureau. It now looks as if a full decade may pass before most Americans receive a raise.



That's pretty striking stuff. And of course since the economy never really re-reached its 1999 peak before the current downturn, there's really no particular reason to think that median household earnings will top $48,000 by 2009. For much of this period, steadily rising housing prices would have kept more people accruing wealth, but at a minimum it seems likely that values will stagnate for a while now as we wait for inventory to get sold off.