On the other hand these prices have fallen slightly
Two things when discussing economics like this.
First, prices are meaningless if we don't discuss them as prices in labor. If you pay $100 now for a microwave you paid $75 for in 1990, that's pretty meaningless. If the median wage earns that microwave in 3.7 hours today but 4.9 hours in 1990, the price of that microwave has decreased. If the median wage earns that microwave in 3.7 hours today but 3.3 hours in 1990, the price of that microwave has increased.
Second, equivalent-technology comparisons are almost never available. Today I purchase Internet for $86/month; but that's 200Mbit/s internet. In 1998, a 128k ISDN line leased for $35/month; this $83 line is equivalent to 1562.5 ISDN lines, which would lease for $54,687.50 in 1998. I believe Comcast had 1.28Mbit into the house for $40/month in 1998, meaning $350/month of ISDN downstream was suddenly replaced with $40/month of cable downstream; and by those numbers, I'm buying $6,250/month worth of cable for $83/month. You will not find 1.28Mbit internet for 53 cents today.
That second point applies to cars (more-complex antilock brakes, suspension, safety systems, radios, etc. at price levels equivalent to the same proportion of a target income), phones ($350 Motorola V3 Razor? I got my OnePlus One 64GB for $350; the OnePlus 3t is $440), computers, heat pumps, and information services (Netflix, Spotify, etc.). $10/month gets you access to enormous feeds of movies and music; $20 used to get you a CD with 11 songs.
In particular reference to your list, it's well-known that Americans spend more money on more and better healthcare now than in decades past. Housing is odd: the per-square-foot share of housing has fallen (i.e. 1,000 square feet of housing represents a smaller proportion of the median income), while houses and apartments have gotten bigger; and housing is also a speculatively-traded commodity, so its price fluctuates a lot along the way. Housing is also often misrepresented by sale price rather than by total price paid or mortgage payment; I believe the CES accounts housing based on actual expense (mortgage/rent, maintenance, insurance) rather than sale prices, which tends to incorporate additional expenses over the base cost of housing rather than exclude large chunks of the base cost of housing.
Food has also gotten vastly cheaper over time, and is somewhere around 12.5% of household income for the median-income household, although this has been relatively flat compared to the movement in the 40s-80s (16% in 1990). I find vehicle maintenance on a downward trend myself, but I suspect an actual economic analysis as done with food, housing, and medical care would reveal a flat trend; I've bought better vehicles with lower maintenance costs, and the economic reality is probably different than my personal experience.
College prices have been out-of-control for policy reasons which require long and complicated discussions. That's a sore spot in public policy which has distorted the economics considerably, leading to rising tuition prices and out-of-control student debt.
At least the total number of jobs has been increasing since March, 2010 [stlouisfed.org].
My point was more that the data doesn't say we're seeing jobs "come back to America" since January, 2017; we don't have enough data to see the movement of unemployment in general--just the seasonal dip after December. As for March to now, yes, we've long-term seen the total jobs increase faster than the total population and the total work force, hence why unemployment fell from 10% to 4.6%.
But yes, the labor force participation rate is higher than when women worked in the kitchen barefoot & pregnant...
The kitchen now has dishwashers and floor-mopping robots. Roombas handle the rest of the house. Automatic washing machines and dryers mean laundry day is a disrupted 10 minutes of your time here and there and consumes half an hour of labor spread across several hours.
I don't subscribe to the ideal that a 2-adult household needs to be a 2-working-adult household. The labor force participation rates are different in various countries. We had to legally establish a 40-hour working week in the past century, coming out of a 90-hour working week with 6 working days; I think we can allow some people to decide the husband/wife works and the wife/husband manages house.
Even with all of the advances in home economics, being a single bachelor is a brutal job. Do you know how much housework doesn't get done unless you have no leisure time? It's practically a full-time job. I briefly considered getting a girlfriend largely so I could make her keep the house in shape, but the irritation that comes with dating vastly outweighs the convenience; and wtf would I do if I ended up with a wife who got a job? Use her money to hire a maid? Either way, kids can fuck right off.
You discount the sheer amount of labor women put in around the house.
See US Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate [stlouisfed.org] which is currently 62.9%, down from a peak of just over 67% 1998-2000, now back to a level reached in mid-1977. It has been flatlined for about 2 years.
Yeah, "Above the maximum" doesn't make sense; I meant minimum, hence the "not at peak" thing.