Pedestrians cross a street past vehicles in traffic during rush hour in the Times Square area of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
CNN  — 

Median US household income was $68,700 in 2019, the highest since 1967, the first year records were kept, according to inflation-adjusted data released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday.

That’s up 6.8% from the year before, among the biggest jumps on record and statistically tied with the change in 2015 under former President Barack Obama.

The poverty rate fell to 10.5% last year, the lowest since records started in 1959, Census said. That’s down about 1.3 percentage points in 2018. Some 34 million people were in poverty, 4.2 million fewer than the year before.

All these gains, however, were upended by the coronavirus pandemic this year, which resulted in the steepest decline in employment on record. While millions of jobs have come back, some 13.6 million Americans remained unemployed in August.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly highlighted the strength of the economy prior to the pandemic and has promised a swift recovery – even as the upswing has slowed amid new outbreaks around the nation.

The pandemic also affected the Census Bureau’s data collection efforts, leading to fewer people responding than in a typical year. Taking this into account, the agency estimates that the poverty rate declined only by 0.9 percentage points and median income rose by 4.1%.

Even with this change, median income would still be the highest ever measured, but the poverty rate would be tied with certain prior years.

The annual increase breaks a slowdown in median income growth in the early years of the Trump administration. The figure remained essentially flat in 2018.

A large increase in the number of people working full-time, year-round – about 2.2 million – helped fuel the jump in income. Median earnings of these workers rose 0.8%, which was not particularly strong, according to the Census Bureau.