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In the 21st century, households throughout the country have purchased computers, televisions, i Pods, DVD players, vacation homes, boats, planes, and recreational vehicles.
Both income and wealth enhance individuals’ freedom to choose the lives that they want to live. * Some common measures of income in the U. are reported by the Congressional Budget Office, Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Internal Revenue Service, and Federal Reserve.      * Accurate comparisons of income require careful use of economic source data.  Definitions of income vary by source, and the Census Bureau has 17 different measures of income.    Such measures have contrasting strengths and weaknesses, such as these: * Government agencies often group people into brackets according to their income, with the middle group considered as the “middle class.” Median income—“the amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, one having incomes above the median, and the other having incomes below the median”—is another common way to define the middle class.   * Unless otherwise stated, all international comparisons of income in this research are provided in “purchasing power parities” or PPPs.This gain closed the 1989 gap between the bottom 20% and the next income group by 47%.The gap closures between the other groups varied as follows: Perhaps as revealing as the shift in consumer expenditure shares over the past 100 years is the wide variety of consumer items that had not been invented during the early decades of the 20th century but are commonplace today.The broadest measure of underemployment published by the U. Bureau of Labor Statistics is called “U-6,” which includes: * In the U. during December 2016, the average cost to employers for one hour of employee work was .90, with wages and salaries accounting for 68% of costs, and benefits accounting for 32% of costs. * Per the U. Department of Labor, “In the final four decades of the 20th century, employee compensation, as measured by employer costs, has undergone dramatic shifts” from cash to benefits.Many of these benefits are “legally required” by government, such as Social Security and Medicare. * In the 2000s, three employees brought a class action lawsuit against IBM for withholding overtime pay from workers that IBM considered to be exempt from the regulations.