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U.S. SHRINKS IN THE MIDDLE

Nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, more people are realizing that they're no longer part of the middle class. They are former professionals now stocking shelves at grocery stores, retirees struggling with rising costs and people working part-time jobs but desperate for full-time pay. Since 2008, the number of people who call themselves middle class has fallen by nearly a fifth, according to the Pew Research Center, from 53 to 44 percent. Forty percent now identify as either lower-middle or lower class, compared with just 25 percent in February 2008. The most recent National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey found that the proportion of Americans who call themselves middle class is the lowest in the survey's 40-year history. The trend reflects a widening gap between the richest Americans and everyone else.

- Associated Press

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THE WEEK THAT WAS

WINNER: Bay area music lovers

The Florida Orchestra schedules concerts by a couple of big names: cellist Yo-Yo Ma, above, and rock star Ben Folds.

LOSER: Visit Florida

Its ad section in Coastal Living magazine located St. Petersburg and Clearwater beaches on Florida's east coast.

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Looking ahead: International trade report comes out Thursday.

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