US Economy

Sales declines at US department stores belie claims of economic recovery

By Barry Grey, 12 August 2017

Large sections of the working population lack the wherewithal to buy more than the bare necessities, which is why the retail slump is primarily hitting stores that cater to the working class.

Dow at 22,000: A new high for parasitism

By Nick Beams, 4 August 2017

The Dow’s record-breaking close coincided with Depression-like scenes of thousands of workers in the US lining up for job applications with Amazon, a firm which epitomizes poverty wages and super-exploitation.

Amazon CEO Bezos makes $1.4 billion Thursday morning, briefly becoming world’s richest person

By Evan Blake, 28 July 2017

Bezos’s ascension to the heights of society rests on the exploitation of Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of workers worldwide.

IMF global outlook downgrades US growth prospects

By Nick Beams, 25 July 2017

A decade after the global financial crisis, growth rates remain well below the levels of 2008, with no sign of a return to the previous levels in the future.

Trump administration to pursue protectionist agenda in NAFTA renegotiation

By Roger Jordan, 21 July 2017

Washington intends to use the talks to extract concessions from corporate America’s Canadian and Mexican rivals and to forge a US-led trade bloc to confront its global rivals.

Study reveals gutting of health care and pensions for US workers

By Isaac Finn, 21 July 2017

Global risk management firm Willis Towers Watson revealed the impact of the corporate-government assault on workers’ retirement and medical benefits.

US House proposes over $5 trillion in cuts

By Daniel de Vries, 20 July 2017

The plan introduced Tuesday would dismantle Medicare and Medicaid while cutting corporate taxes.

Study finds financial parasitism contributes to the high cost of drugs

By Nick Beams, 18 July 2017

According to the authors of a recent study, the reason for the high cost of drugs in the US is the prevalence of a “social disease” called “maximising shareholder value.”

Legislators pass devastating austerity budget in Illinois

By Alexander Fangmann, 10 July 2017

The new budget will become law, enshrining massive across-the-board cuts of 5 percent to most state government agencies, and 10 percent to higher education.

Fed stress test results unleash “party time” for US banks

By Nick Beams, 8 July 2017

As a result of the US Federal Reserve decision, the market value of American banks is estimated to have risen by $40 billion.

Missouri rolls back minimum wage increase in St. Louis

By Matthew MacEgan, 8 July 2017

Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a law that reverses the city of St. Louis’s 2015 hourly minimum wage increase, lowering it from $10 back to the state’s standard of $7.70.

Sears announces the closing of 43 more stores in the US and Canada

By Anthony del Olmo, 8 July 2017

Sears Holdings’ announcement last week of the closing of 43 locations, including Sears and Kmart stores, is the latest in a wave of retail closures and layoffs.

Concerns grow over Fed interest rate policy

By Nick Beams, 4 July 2017

The economic model the Fed has broken down under conditions in which parasitism has become the dominant form of profit accumulation.

International Monetary Fund revises down US growth predictions

By Nick Beams, 30 June 2017

The IMF has not only revised down its projections of US growth but said the country’s “economic model” was failing to deliver “broadly shared” income growth.

US Treasury releases plan to roll back Dodd-Frank bank regulations

By Gabriel Black, 19 June 2017

Stripping away parts of Dodd-Frank will remove its minimal restrictions on Wall Street’s speculative activities.

Amazon’s monopoly swells with $13.7 billion offer to buy Whole Foods

By Evan Blake, 17 June 2017

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made $1.88 billion in a single day as the corporation’s octopus-like control expanded into a new segment of the world economy.

Despite low inflation, US Fed lifts interest rates

By Nick Beams, 15 June 2017

The overriding message was that low economic growth, falling consumption spending and the spread of part-time and casual work represent the new normal.

US study shows one-third of adults suffer severe income fluctuations

By Josh Varlin, 7 June 2017

A recent Federal Reserve study found that almost a third of adults have a variable income from month to month, which makes financial planning nearly impossible.

Uncertainty grows over US Fed’s interest rate moves

By Nick Beams, 6 June 2017

Far-reaching structural changes in the economy, above all the rise of low-paid part-time labour, have undermined the assumptions on which the Fed’s policies have been based.

Study: The ultra-rich hide 25 percent of their wealth in tax havens

By Gabriel Black, 5 June 2017

A new report by economist Gabriel Zucman argues that global inequality is significantly worse than shown in official estimates because of rampant tax evasion by the financial elite.

GM announces more layoffs as US auto sales decline

By Shannon Jones, 3 June 2017

General Motors announced 300 job cuts at its Warren, Michigan transmission plant amid continuing signs of a slowdown in US auto sales after a seven-year boom.

Wall Street engineers ouster of top Ford executives

By Jerry White, 23 May 2017

The management reshuffling at the number two US automaker, described in industry circles as a “coup,” underscores the complete domination of the banks and financial speculators.

Trump triggers renegotiation of NAFTA

By Roger Jordan, 22 May 2017

The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing its “America first” agenda, renegotiating the agreement as economic protectionism grows around the world.

Productivity figures and job cuts expose Trump’s growth fraud

By Nick Beams, 19 May 2017

US productivity growth is running at around one third its level before the global financial crisis of 2008.

Fund managers earned billions in 2016 even as hedge funds underperformed

By Shelley Connor, 17 May 2017

The wealthiest 25 managers earned $11 billion last year while hedge funds yielded meager returns for investors.

US Federal student loan interest rates set to rise in July

By Anthony del Olmo, 15 May 2017

The rise in rates is an outcome of the stock market boom following Trump’s election, and comes at a time when the plight of students continues to worsen.

Apple valuation surges to over $800 billion

By Nick Beams, 12 May 2017

Apple’s market valuation and cash holdings illustrate a major shift in the mode of profit accumulation and how share values increasingly result from financial manipulation.

US auto profits soar as sales slowdown threatens more layoffs

By Shannon Jones, 11 May 2017

Higher auto profits are being accompanied by job cuts as management intensifies its assault on autoworkers.

US corporate profits up 13.9 percent on cost-cutting and low wages

By Barry Grey, 9 May 2017

At the heart of the corporate profit bonanza is an ongoing drive to cut costs by holding down wages, cutting jobs and slashing spending on new plants and equipment.

Higher education and upward mobility increasingly inaccessible to poor in the US

By Kathleen Martin, 5 May 2017

Higher education, seen as a key to social mobility in the US, is becoming increasingly unattainable to a growing section of the American working class.

Apple’s $257 billion cash hoard and parasitic accumulation

By Nick Beams, 5 May 2017

There is conjecture about what Apple intends to do with its cash pile, but one thing is certain: it will be used for forms of speculation and financial manipulation.

May Day 2017

The rise of economic nationalism and protectionism

By Nick Beams, 2 May 2017

The historic crisis of the global capitalist system is now producing the very conditions that led to the economic conflicts of the 1930s and the eruption of war in 1939.

Democrats agree to increase military and border spending while cutting food stamps

By Barry Grey, 2 May 2017

Republicans hailed the agreement as a down payment on Trump’s demands for a $54 billion increase in the Pentagon budget to be paid for with cuts in social programs.

Poverty among Michigan children greater in 2015 than during “Great Recession”

By Debra Watson, 1 May 2017

Michigan had an official poverty rate of 22.2 percent in 2015, more than at the end of the first full year of the 2008 recession.

US economic growth slumps to slowest pace in three years

By Barry Grey, 29 April 2017

Friday’s report underscores the disconnect between the rising fortunes of the corporate oligarchy and the continuing fall in living standards for broad sections of the population.

Trump steps up trade war over NAFTA

By Nick Beams, 28 April 2017

The Trump administration has signalled that it will take an aggressive economic nationalist stance in negotiations on NAFTA after making moves to withdraw altogether.

Trump tax cuts: A bonanza for corporations and the wealthy

By Patrick Martin, 27 April 2017

The proposal unveiled Wednesday would channel trillions of dollars into the pockets of the financial elite at the expense of social programs and working class living standards.

Latest economic data dampen US growth prospects

By Nick Beams, 22 April 2017

The stock market has lifted but consumer spending is falling and industrial production is flat.

Canadian government seeks to placate Trump following NAFTA comments

By Roger Jordan, 22 April 2017

Trump’s sharp criticism of Canada over its trading practices in a number of economic sectors prompted a conciliatory response from Ottawa.

Over 8.3 million American adults suffer from severe psychological distress

By Kathleen Martin, 22 April 2017

Research released by the Psychiatric Services journal indicates disturbing growth of psychological distress in the United States, correlating directly to the continuing economic crisis.

Tesla’s market valuation pushes past Ford and GM

By Gabriel Black, 17 April 2017

Unbridled speculation and a shift towards high-tech products, like automated cars, explains the electric car manufacturer’s seemingly absurd valuation.

US retail stores closing at record rate

By Niles Niemuth, 12 April 2017

Along with mounting store closures, retailers eliminated nearly 60,000 jobs in February and March, making it the worst two-month period for the retail sector since 2008.

Super-rich in America live 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent

By Kate Randall, 11 April 2017

Income-based disparities in US life expectancy are worsened by the for-profit US health care system.

Subprime auto loans threaten new crisis

By J. Cooper, 11 April 2017

Wall Street is concerned at the surge in auto loan defaults, a further indication that the sales boom of recent years is winding down.

Sharp fall in US jobs growth in March

By Shannon Jones, 8 April 2017

The worst job numbers since May 2016 underscore the disconnect between surging stock prices and the underlying economy, and the fraud of Trump’s “jobs” agenda.

Concerns over Trump crisis roil financial markets

By Barry Grey, 23 March 2017

Whatever the short-term trend on the financial markets, Tuesday’s downturn reflected the underlying unsustainability of the massively inflated stock valuations.

Wealth of world’s billionaires soars amid stock market surge

By Shannon Jones, 22 March 2017

In 2016 the combined wealth of the world’s richest individuals rose 18 percent to a staggering $7.67 trillion.

Trump budget to fund wider wars by slashing domestic spending

By Patrick Martin, 17 March 2017

The budget proposes to increase spending on the military and homeland security by nearly $60 billion, while slashing spending on the environment and social programs.

US Fed lifts interest rate and reassures markets

By Nick Beams, 16 March 2017

The US stock markets rose after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates by 0.25 percent but concerns were voiced over the divergence between the world’s three major central banks.

RadioShack closing 187 more stores

By James Brewer, 11 March 2017

This announcement follows on the heels of thousands of job losses, giving the lie to the optimistic jobs report by the Labor Department.

Trump steps up trade war agenda

By Nick Beams, 28 February 2017

The objective logic of Trump’s agenda of economic war, based on “America First” leads inexorably to military conflict.

Trump’s “America First” policies and the global eruption of economic nationalism

By Nick Beams, 21 February 2017

Speaking on behalf of European capital, the London-based Financial Times has described the trade policies of the Trump administration as a “clear and present danger” to the global trading and monetary system.

US stocks hit new highs following Senate testimony by Fed chief

By Barry Grey, 15 February 2017

While Yellen defended the Dodd-Frank banking law, she repeatedly stated her support for “mitigating” the regulatory “burden” on financial firms.

US Senate confirms former Goldman Sachs executive as Treasury secretary

By Patrick Martin, 14 February 2017

The vote came as the stock market roared ahead, hailing Trump’s promises of a bonanza for US corporations and banks through the cutting of taxes and regulations.

GM makes $9.4 billion in global profits as it slashes thousands of jobs

By Jerry White, 8 February 2017

GM is doling out $14 billion in stock buybacks even as it lays off 3,300 workers in Michigan and Ohio.

Trump issues orders to roll back bank regulations

By Barry Grey, 4 February 2017

Nothing could more clearly expose the farce of Trump's pretensions to be a champion of the American worker than his drive to lift all restraints on the financial oligarchy.

Amid trade war rhetoric from White House, Fed holds interest rates steady

By Barry Grey, 2 February 2017

The central bank's deliberations were dominated by uncertainty over the course of both the US and world economy as a result of Trump's "America First" trade and monetary policies.

US growth rate lowest in five years

By Nick Beams, 30 January 2017

The lowest US growth rate in five years and the record 20,000 high for the Dow highlight the ever-widening disconnect between the financial system and the underlying economy.

Wall Street’s Trump euphoria propels Dow above 20,000

By Barry Grey, 26 January 2017

The surge was buoyed by Trump’s promises of massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich, the wholesale lifting of business regulations, a massive expansion of military spending, and the prospect of a full-scale attack on social programs.

Trump scraps TPP and outlines trade war agenda

By Mike Head, 23 January 2017

Ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not a retreat into US isolationism but a ramping up of the offensive, commenced under Obama, to reassert American hegemony in Asia.

Canada’s ruling elite braces for reopening of NAFTA

By Roger Jordan and Keith Jones, 21 January 2017

The Trudeau Liberal government intends to deepen Canada’s military-strategic cooperation with Washington so as to ensure privileged market access for Canada in a Trump-led America.

Trump signals shift on “strong dollar”

By Nick Beams, 19 January 2017

Trump’s remarks to the Wall Street Journal were in line with the anti-China rhetoric that marked his election campaign.

US Millennials face higher unemployment, lower income than parents’ generation

By Shelley Connor, 16 January 2017

While the media glowingly reviews Obama’s legacy over the last eight years, sobering reports point to significant declines in living standards among young people.

In wake of Trump election victory

US banks report massive fourth quarter profits

By Gabriel Black, 16 January 2017

Bank share prices and profits have surged in anticipation of the installation of Trump, who has packed his cabinet with Wall Street insiders and pledged to remove regulations.

New year opens with wave of layoffs in the US

By Jerry White, 9 January 2017

The Ohio-based retailer The Limited’s decision to close 250 stores and eliminate 4,000 jobs follows store-closing announcements by Macy’s and Sears.

US jobs report shows lower than expected hiring in December

By Tom Hall, 7 January 2017

The December jobs report for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that the American economy added 156,000 jobs last month, less than the 175,000 expected by economists.

Macy’s, Sears announce mass layoffs, hundreds of store closings across the US

By Niles Niemuth, 6 January 2017

The closings and layoffs are an indication of the actual state of the economy, more than seven years after the beginning of the supposed economic “recovery.”

Uncertainty over Trump program dominated Fed meeting

By Nick Beams, 6 January 2017

The Federal Reserve open market committee forecast a gradual rise in interest rates, and made clear it would take action to prevent wages from rising substantially.

World’s richest increased their wealth by $237 billion in 2016

By Nick Beams, 29 December 2016

US billionaires alone have increased their wealth by $77 billion due to the rise in the stock market since the election of Trump less than two months ago.

Homeownership rates at historic lows for young people in the US

By Nick Barrickman, 22 December 2016

Recent reports reveal that homeownership levels for young people have dropped to record lows in the years following the 2008 financial crisis.

General Motors announces mass layoffs of workers in the US

By Jerry White, 21 December 2016

In its latest layoff announcement, the largest US automaker said it would eliminate the second shift at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, wiping out 1,200 jobs.

Christmas on Wall Street: The Dow closes in on 20,000

By Barry Grey, 21 December 2016

The American corporate elite anticipates that Trump will remove all constraints on its ability to plunder American society for personal gain.

Federal Reserve hikes key rate, signals faster monetary tightening

By Barry Grey, 15 December 2016

Despite the Fed’s pledge to keep interest rates below previous norms, there were indications that, in the face of Trump’s inflationary policies, it could move quickly in the opposite direction.

Study on pay for young adults highlights plunge in US living standards

By Niles Niemuth, 12 December 2016

It is the social catastrophe, rooted in the decline of American capitalism, that underlies the political crisis of both big-business parties and will lead to immense social convulsions.

Markets pushed to record highs on Trump surge

By Nick Beams, 12 December 2016

The chief component in the rise in the Dow over the past month has been a 33 percent surge in shares of Goldman Sachs, accounting for 29 percent of the stock index’s ascent.

US Congress overwhelmingly backs $619 billion Pentagon budget

By Bill Van Auken, 5 December 2016

The legislation, which won overwhelming bipartisan approval, also bars the shutdown of the American prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

West Virginia governor orders $60 million in budget cuts

By Joe McGee, 5 December 2016

The state’s most vulnerable residents will be hit with an $11 million cut in public schools and a supposed one-time reduction of $25 million to Medicaid.

November jobs report highlights impact of Obama’s eight-year assault on the working class

By Niles Niemuth, 3 December 2016

Even as the official unemployment rate continues to fall, wage growth remains limited and the labor force participation rate for working-age adults is far below what it was before 2009.

The 19,000 Dow: Markets soar on prospects for profiteering under Trump

By Nick Beams, 24 November 2016

Trump’s agenda for the US economy bears a striking resemblance to his own business operations: a mixture of tax evasion, swindling and profit-gouging.

Insurance fund for US pensions could be insolvent by 2025, agency director warns

By Gabriel Black, 22 November 2016

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s annual report points to the growing danger of a general collapse in the US pension system.

Fed set to lift key interest rate

By Nick Beams, 19 November 2016

The rise in interest rates and US bond yields could have major international implications, particularly for emerging markets.

Dow hits record high as Wall Street celebrates Trump victory

By Nick Beams, 11 November 2016

The sharp rise in stock prices is being driven both by Trump’s pro-corporate policies and the support he has received from the Democratic Party establishment.

Big market swings after Trump's election

By Nick Beams, 10 November 2016

After initial fears of a market plunge, Wall Street reached near-record highs as investors decided that Trump’s policies could provide a road to increased wealth.

Election eve US jobs report reflects continuing stagnation

By Barry Grey, 5 November 2016

The decline in the official unemployment rate to 4.9 percent was not the result of workers joining the labor force and finding jobs, but the departure of 425,000 more working-age Americans.

Fed keeps rates on hold as disarray over central bank policies increases

By Nick Beams, 3 November 2016

The US Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold amid continuing uncertainty about the direction of policies in Europe and Japan.

US mergers set new record in October

By Barry Grey, 29 October 2016

The extraordinary level of mergers and the scale of the combinations are expressions of economic stagnation and the growth of financial parasitism.

The gig economy: More than 160 million in US and EU rely on “independent work”

By Genevieve Leigh, 29 October 2016

Up to 162 million individuals in the US and the EU work as contractors.

AT&T-Time Warner merger to expand corporate, state control of media

By Barry Grey, 24 October 2016

If the merger goes through, this quasi-state entity will be in a position to directly control the content of much of the news and entertainment accessed by the public.

Fed Chair Yellen speaks in Boston: An admission of perplexity and impotence

By Nick Beams, 17 October 2016

A conference convened by the Boston Federal Reserve revealed that neither the Fed nor bourgeois economics in general has an answer to the stagnation of the US and global economy.

IMF cuts growth forecasts for major economies

By Nick Beams, 5 October 2016

The International Monetary Fund has warned of a “deflationary trap” where further cuts in interest rates cannot provide a stimulus to the world economy.

Slowdown in growth of trade highlights global economic stagnation

By Nick Beams, 29 September 2016

Both the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund warned of an increase in protectionist measures alongside a fall in the rate of world trade growth.

Walmart to cut 7,000 back-office jobs in the US

By Jessica Goldstein, 29 September 2016

The announcement of mass layoffs at the largest employer in the US comes amid a wave of cuts in the retail industry.

Deutsche Bank plunge sparks talk of “Lehman moment”

By Nick Beams, 27 September 2016

The turmoil surrounding Deutsche Bank is only the sharpest expression of a crisis gripping the whole of the European banking system.

Pennsylvania workers’ wages decline while rich become richer

By Douglas Lyons, 26 September 2016

A recent report underscores the economic decline workers have experienced over the past half century while the super-rich carried out a “radical redistribution” of wealth.

NASDAQ hits record after US and Japanese central banks signal continued stimulus

By Nick Beams, 22 September 2016

Global stocks rallied as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revised down its global growth estimate, citing weak trade growth and lower productivity.

Markets too dependent on central banks, BIS warns

By Nick Beams, 20 September 2016

Amid signs of increased volatility, the Bank for International Settlements issued another warning that financial markets rely too much on central banks.

Wells Fargo executive overseeing fraud receives $124.6 million retirement

By Gabriel Black, 17 September 2016

Carrie Tolstedt has made tens of millions overseeing massive consumer fraud as Wells Fargo’s Vice President for community banking.

Further considerations on the household income report: Poverty and inequality in America

By Patrick Martin, 15 September 2016

The Obama administration and the Democratic Party have seized on the latest Census Bureau report as support for their bogus claims of a genuine economic recovery.

The 2008 crisis and the lessons of history

By Nick Beams, 15 September 2016

The ensuing eight years have shown that the financial crisis of 2008 was not a conjunctural downturn but a breakdown in the very foundations of the global capitalist economy.

Turbulence returns to financial markets

By Nick Beams, 13 September 2016

There are warnings that the rise in bond prices could turn into a rout with significant losses for investors.