Economy

Millions in the US face catastrophe as federal unemployment relief set to expire amid surging pandemic

By Kevin Reed, 4 July 2020

The combined economic impact of the raging pandemic and the imminent cutoff of $600 weekly federal assistance is leading to a social catastrophe for millions across the US.

Trump administration gives private equity firms access to 401(k) retirement funds

By Gabriel Black, 4 July 2020

The $7.9 trillion in 401(k) retirement funds will be used to buttress private equity markets and further enrich the financial oligarchy.

Sri Lankan president orders Central Bank to give more credit to big business

By Saman Gunadasa, 4 July 2020

While providing huge financial concessions to the banks and big business, the government is imposing greater economic burdens on workers and the poor.

US unemployment rate dips, but millions remain jobless or face wage cuts

By Jerry White, 3 July 2020

Despite Trump’s claims that the “economy is roaring back,” joblessness remains at depression levels while the reopening of businesses has produced a surge of COVID-19 cases.

US Fed official warns of potential for a financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 3 July 2020

Having boosted the wealth of the financial oligarchy, in the midst of economic devastation for working people, the Fed is actively considering giving the rich even more support.

Airbus cuts 15,000 jobs

Coronavirus crisis triggers mass layoffs, wage cuts across Europe

By Will Morrow, 1 July 2020

Having given massive state bailouts to the corporations, the ruling class is using the pandemic to effect a historic restructuring in class relations.

Royal Mail workers in the UK face jobs massacre

By Paul Lee, 30 June 2020

Two thousand management job cuts will be followed by at least 20,000 redundancies from the remaining workforce.

A revealing comment from a finance chief

By Nick Beams, 30 June 2020

Over the past 12 years, since the financial crisis of 2008, the state has provided trillions of dollars to the banks, hedge funds and corporations, shattering the nostrums of “free market” capitalism.

Another 1.5 million US workers file for jobless benefits

By Jerry White, 26 June 2020

The US Labor Department recorded a record fourteenth week in a row in which the number applying for unemployment aid topped one million.

Wirecard: The German economy sinks into criminality

By Peter Schwarz, 26 June 2020

The company CEO was arrested in connection with the disappearance of 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion).

New York City mayor de Blasio threatens 22,000 municipal worker layoffs

By Fred Mazelis, 26 June 2020

The city faces a June 30 deadline for a budget at a time when revenues show a $9 billion fall due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IMF downgrades forecast for global economy

By Nick Beams, 25 June 2020

The global economy is predicted to take a $12 trillion hit over 2020 and 2021 with the COVID-19 pandemic having a “catastrophic” effect on the world labour market.

Pandemic intensifies unemployment and poverty among Turkish workers

By Ozan Özgür, 24 June 2020

Millions of workers are losing their jobs, left unable to meet basic needs as billions go to cheap loans in the interests of the ruling class in Turkey.

Aviation industry workers face deep cuts to pay and hours worldwide

By Steve Filips, 20 June 2020

Airlines are slashing jobs, pay, and hours of workers in a desperate attempt to bolster profits at worker expense during the pandemic.

Air France-KLM prepares to slash at least 6,000 jobs

By Anthony Torres, 20 June 2020

After receiving a €7 billion public bailout, the French-Dutch airline is preparing to slash between 6,000 and 10,000 jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joblessness reaches Great Depression levels in Australia

By Mike Head, 20 June 2020

The rate of youth unemployment and underemployment would be a staggering 48 percent if everyone who had lost their job was counted.

US jobless disaster intensifies as 1.5 million filed for unemployment last week

By Shannon Jones, 19 June 2020

Mass joblessness in the US is unlike anything seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

US escalates trade and economic conflicts

By Nick Beams, 19 June 2020

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has delivered a broadside against the World Trade Organisation and indicated that trade negotiations with the European Union were going nowhere.

Fed boosts support for stock market by expanding corporate debt purchases

By Nick Beams, 17 June 2020

Fed chairman Jerome Powell said it would take some time before employment and economic activity returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Australian PM outlines bipartisan austerity offensive

By Oscar Grenfell, 17 June 2020

The government is winding back meagre relief measures introduced during the pandemic and intensifying an assault on working class jobs and conditions.

OECD report points to pandemic’s long-term impact

By Nick Beams, 16 June 2020

The report calls the economic outlook “exceptionally uncertain.” It warns that any recovery will be “hesitant” and subject to interruption by another outbreak of the pandemic.

Macron announces mass bankruptcies and layoffs as coronavirus restrictions are ended

By Alex Lantier, 16 June 2020

With Macron’s brief televised address, the ruling class is declaring an international class war against workers.

Nearly 24,000 Ohioans told to return unemployment payments

By Isaac Finn, 16 June 2020

State authorities demanded that thousands of workers give back “overpaid benefits” they have received since the start of the economic crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nurses outraged over US hospital chain bailouts, layoffs and bloated CEO pay

By Gary Joad, 15 June 2020

The largest health care corporations and hospital chains have collected billions in federal grants and laid off tens of thousands of health care workers, while compensating top executives hundreds of millions.

Over 1.4 million US education jobs slashed in April and May

By Evan Blake, 15 June 2020

The massive education-related job losses will in many cases be permanent, with devastating repercussions for both educators and an entire generation of students.

Biggest fall on Wall Street since March meltdown

By Nick Beams, 12 June 2020

The S&P 500 dropped by 5.9 percent after it had risen by 45 percent and returned to previous highs as a result of the boom in stocks following the injection of trillions of dollars into financial markets by the Fed.

Fed to keep interest rates near zero indefinitely

By Nick Beams, 11 June 2020

The Fed forecast the US economy would contract by 6.5 percent this year and unemployment would be 9.3 percent with the decline in second quarter GDP “likely to be the most severe on record.”

The paradox of the Wall Street surge

By Nick Beams, 10 June 2020

The rise of the market, taking place in the midst of the greatest health crisis in a century, stands in stark contrast to the underlying real economy.

German government’s stimulus package: €50 billion for automakers, €1 billion for childcare

By Peter Schwarz, 8 June 2020

Like the previous bailouts, the latest package showers cash on the rich, concealed behind a few modest rations for families and will produce a further increase in social inequality.

Trump hails dubious May jobless report to boost stock market, back-to-work drive

By Shannon Jones, 6 June 2020

An unexpected decline in the unemployment rate in May is being used by the White House to declare the pandemic-fueled economic crisis over.

Australian government hands more cash to big business as recession deepens

By Mike Head, 6 June 2020

The slump began before the main COVID-19 pandemic restrictions commenced, and has led to the greatest loss of livelihoods since the 1930s Great Depression.

New US weekly unemployment claims near 2 million as foreclosures, hunger loom

By Shannon Jones, 5 June 2020

The economic meltdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving into a deep and long economic slump.

Zambia’s bid for IMF rescue deal thwarted by Washington’s anti-China campaign

By Jean Shaoul and Stephan McCoy, 5 June 2020

Zambia has been caught in the crosshairs of US President Donald Trump’s reckless campaign to undermine China, which he views as a threat to US global dominance.

European Central Banks boosts support for financial markets

By Nick Beams, 5 June 2020

The decision by the ECB to lift its emergency asset purchasing program to €1.35 trillion was warmly welcome in financial circles.

Nissan confirms job cuts as strike against Spanish plant closures continues

By Alejandro López, 5 June 2020

Thousands of Nissan workers, their families and sympathisers are striking, protesting and blocking roads to protest the automaker’s decision to shut down its Barcelona plant.

Economic effects of pandemic to last a decade

By Nick Beams, 4 June 2020

The Congressional Budget Office has reduced its forecast for US growth over the next decade by a cumulative $7.9 trillion, equivalent to 3 percent of gross domestic product.

Union supports ditching temporary workers at Meyer shipyard in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 4 June 2020

The unions are on the side of those raking in billions in aid to keep the German stock market bubbling.

Microsoft to replace MSN news production workers with artificial intelligence

By Mike Ingram, 3 June 2020

Dozens of workers will be replaced with artificial intelligence software that will automatically select content and manage news production.

Nearly half of all teachers in Brookline, Massachusetts receive pink slips

By Will McCalliss, 2 June 2020

With a maximum $6.3 million deficit looming, Brookline lays off $20 million’s worth of teachers in the name of “flexibility.”

Thousands of retail jobs eliminated in Sprint and T-Mobile telecom merger

By Kevin Reed, 2 June 2020

The merger of the wireless carriers Sprint and T-Mobile has already resulted in the loss of 6,000 retail jobs as the combined firm is moving aggressively to close down as many as 2,000 Metro prepaid phone stores across the country.

Pandemic intensifies social crisis in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 30 May 2020

More than a third of the population is in financial difficulty, as the Ardern Labour Party-led coalition government presides over tens of thousands of job cuts.

Amid worsening economic downturn, European Union moves to set up bailout fund

By Nick Beams, 29 May 2020

The move to establish the new fund comes amid warnings that the effects of the pandemic on the European economy are far more serious than had been initially anticipated.

City University of New York to lay off thousands of adjunct faculty amid financial crisis

By Elliott Murtagh, 29 May 2020

The City University of New York system is beginning to implement sweeping budget cuts triggered by New York state’s estimated $13.3 billion loss in tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financial press hails Australian government’s union-employer offensive against workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 29 May 2020

The unions have committed to a sweeping pro-business overhaul of workplace conditions and industrial relations on the pretext of the pandemic.

American ruling class exploits the pandemic to escalate assault on jobs and wages

By Jerry White, 29 May 2020

Major US corporations that have received billions in government bailout money are slashing thousands of jobs while protecting their corporate executives and biggest shareholders.

UK: Johnson government to unveil second multi-billion bailout of big business

By Robert Stevens, 28 May 2020

Project Birch follows on from the handing over of nearly a trillion pounds in the form of quantitative easing of £645 billion and £330 billion in business loans.

With US states facing a $230 billion loss in education funding, Betsy DeVos channels public assets to private schools

By Evan Blake, 28 May 2020

Facing an unprecedented budget crisis in every state, the ruling class is working to impose the full burden of the pandemic on the working class through massive austerity, including an evisceration of K-12 public education.

Unemployment skyrockets among youth

By Genevieve Leigh, 27 May 2020

A large body of research shows that young people, especially those without a college degree, are particularly vulnerable during economic downturns.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans face homelessness during pandemic as states begin lifting restrictions on evictions

By Trévon Austin, 26 May 2020

Across the US, moratoriums on eviction proceedings and home foreclosures, set in place during the onset of the pandemic, have either been lifted or are set to expire early next month.

After French bailout, Renault-Nissan announces global jobs massacre

By Alex Lantier, 26 May 2020

Four plants in France, three in Spain and tens of thousands of jobs worldwide are targeted amid a savage restructuring of the global auto industry.

Thyssenkrupp in Germany to be broken up

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 26 May 2020

With the approval of hedge funds and the IG Metall trade union, the supervisory board of Germany’s Thyssenkrupp company has decided to break up the industrial group.

Maryland Democratic Party officials cite coronavirus crisis to impose sweeping budget cuts on workers

By Ray Coleman, 26 May 2020

Democratic Party officials in Montgomery County seized upon the COVID-19 crisis to impose austerity upon county employees, many of whom are working on the front lines of the pandemic.

Sri Lankan Everbest garment workers protest job and wage cuts

By our reporters, 26 May 2020

The trade unions, like the counterparts around the world, are assisting the government and the employers.

Chinese leadership drops economic growth target

By Nick Beams, 25 May 2020

Premier Li Keqiang said the government had refrained from setting a GDP target because foreign markets were so uncertain.

Global rental car giant Hertz added to growing list of US corporations filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

By Jessica Goldstein, 25 May 2020

The restructuring has already begun with Hertz laying off or furloughing about one fourth of its workforce, or 16,000 workers, since March.

As hundreds across Europe die daily from coronavirus

European Union pushes reopening of beach resorts and hotels for summer holiday season

By Jordan Shilton, 23 May 2020

Piling one lie on another, the EU Commission claimed its guidelines would restore “transport services across the EU while protecting the health of transport workers and passengers.”

Uber lays off 6,700 white-collar workers as it continues restructuring

By Shuvu Batta, 23 May 2020

Uber has slashed jobs for its white-collar workers while it restructures its business in response to its fall in share values and drop in ride requests.

US Agriculture Department outlines program to aid farmers hit by pandemic

By Alex Findijs, 23 May 2020

The design of the program will inevitably lead to a disproportionate share of funding flowing to large firms.

Wealth of US billionaires soars as pandemic expands, nearly 40 million unemployed

By Niles Niemuth, 23 May 2020

The class logic at play in the homicidal push to reopen the US economy before the spread of the coronavirus has been controlled is becoming increasingly clear.

US unemployment claims approach 40 million since March

By Niles Niemuth, 22 May 2020

According to some estimates, the real unemployment rate has already hit 22.5 percent, which is nearing levels reached during the depths of the Great Depression in 1933.

Further details emerge on the extent of the mid-March financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 22 May 2020

While the Fed has taken limited measures to try to curb some of the riskier activities of the banks that sparked the 2008 crash, the dangers have simply been shifted to other areas of the financial system.

Merkel and Macron’s European bailout: €500 billion for trade war and austerity

By Peter Schwarz, 22 May 2020

Merkel and Macron see the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to strengthen their countries’ position in the world market and reorganise the European economy in the interests of the major corporations.

Nearly 1.5 million health care workers laid off in pandemic-fueled jobs massacre

By Gary Joad, 22 May 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43,000 health care workers lost their jobs in March, while 1.4 million more lost their jobs in April.

The economic impact of the pandemic on young workers in Wayne County, Michigan

By Helen Halyard and Kevin Reed, 22 May 2020

The WSWS spoke with Karissa, 27, about her experiences over the past eight weeks since she and her fiancé lost their jobs when the coronavirus pandemic hit the Detroit area.

US government to file antitrust lawsuit against Google this summer

By Kevin Reed, 21 May 2020

The DOJ case will reportedly raise “concerns that Google uses its dominant search business to stifle competition.”

Mass sackings as German department store group closes up to 80 stores

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 19 May 2020

Germany’s largest department store group, the merged Galeria Kaufhof Karstadt, is to close almost half of its stores.

US retailer JCPenney to close nearly one-third of department stores, announces bankruptcy

By Jessica Goldstein, 19 May 2020

The decline of traditional “brick and mortar” retail is part of a protracted process which has spanned decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated processes which were already well underway.

New Zealand Labour government promises billions for big business

By John Braddock, 19 May 2020

While handing over billions to big business through the COVID-19 crisis, Labour’s budget boosts the military and prepares a sweeping assault on the social position of the working class.

Australian government heightens trade conflict with China

By Mike Head, 18 May 2020

Successive Australian governments have been in the forefront of imposing tariffs and other restrictions on imports from China.

US Fed report reveals depth of financial crisis it helped create

By Nick Beams, 18 May 2020

A Foreign Policy article noted that with its asset holdings predicted to reach $9 trillion by the year's end, the Fed is pumping money into the financial system at the rate of $1 million every second.

US House passes $3 trillion coronavirus “relief” bill

By Jacob Crosse, 16 May 2020

In a near party-line vote, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a fourth stimulus bill that has no chance of being approved by the Republican-controlled Senate.

Prices for basic foods soar in the US as pandemic disrupts supply chains

By Alex Findijs, 16 May 2020

Grocery prices in the country rose 2.6 percent in April, the largest increase in a single month since 1974.

Australian governments exploit mass unemployment to coerce workers into unsafe workplaces

By Mike Head, 16 May 2020

Nearly half a million workers dropped out of the workforce in April, yet unemployment and underemployment still reached a record total of 19.9 percent.

Worsening conditions at Hirdaramani garment plants in Sri Lanka

By our reporters, 16 May 2020

Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers have responded to the COVID-19 crisis with a wave of wage and job cuts and the imposition of increased working hours and productivity targets.

Unemployment soars in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 16 May 2020

Having handed tens of billions of dollars to big business, the Labour Party-led government is presiding over an increase in unemployment and social misery on a scale not seen in generations.

Three million more US workers apply for unemployment, reaching 36 million in two months

By Trévon Austin, 15 May 2020

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reported that 40 percent of US households bringing in less than $40,000 a year lost a wage earner in March.

Local county officials in California bow before billionaire’s demand to reopen Tesla factory

By Jessica Goldstein, 14 May 2020

Earlier this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk reopened his 10,000-employee factory in defiance of the orders of Alameda County health officials.

Fed chief calls for more money for Wall Street and corporations

By Nick Beams, 14 May 2020

Powell’s remarks effectively poured water on the claim that once lockdowns are lifted, as being demanded by the “return to work” advocates, the American economy will immediately snap back in a so-called V-shaped recovery.

Democrats release fraudulent “relief” bill

By Barry Grey, 14 May 2020

The political charade and partisan grandstanding now under way serve to mask the bipartisan unity when it comes to protecting the basic class interests of the ruling elite.

UK: Johnson government readies post-lockdown onslaught against working class

By Robert Stevens, 14 May 2020

The offensive is being prepared as the government is attempting to force millions back to work in unsafe conditions.

German companies plan layoffs, attacks on wages and benefits amid coronavirus pandemic

By Peter Schwarz, 14 May 2020

The German government’s response to the pandemic was conditioned from the outset by the interests of the major corporations and banks.

India’s calamitous COVID-19 lockdowns leave more than 120 million jobless

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 14 May 2020

Egged on by big business, the BJP government is now pushing for a return to work, and cynically citing the suffering its lockdown has inflicted on India’s working people to justify making them risk infection and death.

Ohio University lays off 140 workers amid massive statewide cuts to higher education

By Katy Kinner, 14 May 2020

New layoffs and furloughs are in response to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s $775 million budget cut, with $110 million to be cut from higher education.

Mounting worker opposition to Quebec’s reckless back-to-work drive

By Louis Girard, 14 May 2020

Quebec’s rightwing populist CAQ government is spearheading the drive of Canada’s business elite to force a precipitous return to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Depression USA

By Joseph Kishore—SEP candidate for US president, 9 May 2020

The social desperation of millions of people in the United States is being used by the ruling class to compel a return to work amidst the expanding coronavirus pandemic.

Mass joblessness deepens in US as corporations move to implement permanent layoffs

By Shannon Jones, 8 May 2020

The official unemployment rate now stands at 14.7 percent, itself a significant underestimate of the scale of joblessness, as millions of families are confronting food insecurity.

US state and municipal governments plan massive austerity to meet COVID-19 budget shortfalls

By Isaac Finn, 8 May 2020

State and municipal governments are announcing cuts to medical programs and education and are furloughing workers to make up for the budget shortfall.

With minimal federal relief, US states plan huge cuts to public education

By Evan Blake, 8 May 2020

The impact of the pandemic has thoroughly undermined state budgets, which is being used by Democratic and Republican politicians to dismantle and privatize public education and other vital social services.

UK Chancellor Sunak to wind down furlough wage scheme as part of back-to-work offensive

By Robert Stevens and Julie Hyland, 7 May 2020

The furlough scheme is being ended with workers facing either going back into work in unsafe conditions, in the middle of a deadly pandemic, or losing their jobs.

Jobs massacre deepens in European aviation as four UK corporations announce 26,000 redundancies

By Julia Callaghan, 7 May 2020

In recent days, four conglomerates based in Britain and Ireland—British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Rolls-Royce and Ryanair—have announced they will be laying off a combined 26,000 workers.

Nearly half of Australia’s young hospitality workers lose their jobs

By Mike Head, 7 May 2020

Despite the biggest government handouts to big business in history, almost 1 million people were made jobless in just five weeks.

Mired in debt, Sri Lankan government vows to avoid default

By Saman Gunadasa, 6 May 2020

Big businesses and the government are translating this economic crisis into a massive attack on jobs, wages and all hard-won workers’ rights.

Layoffs and corporate bankruptcies spread as US workers face mounting hardship

By Shannon Jones, 5 May 2020

Job cuts are sweeping the US as major manufacturers join retailers in announcing long-term layoffs.

The political economy of capitalist debt

By Nick Beams, 5 May 2020

No matter how much it seems that “value” can simply be created out of thin air, the gargantuan mass of fictitious capital and debt ultimately rests on the surplus value obtained from the exploitation of the working class.

Euro zone economy contracts at record pace

By Nick Beams, 2 May 2020

The European Central Bank has taken the same road as the US Fed, committing itself to pump still more money across the board into the financial markets.

Germany’s Lufthansa: Billions in state aid and mass layoffs

By Peter Schwarz, 2 May 2020

The airline unions are appealing to Chancellor Merkel for state intervention.

Argentine unions and employers agree to wage cuts pushing millions into poverty

By Rafael Azul, 2 May 2020

More than a million workers will face hunger and poverty while businesses get massive subsidies.

Amid back-to-work drive and state reopenings

US government prepares for hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 deaths

By Patrick Martin, 2 May 2020

Press inquiries have found that the federal government is ordering enough body bags for at least five times the current US death toll.

As US unemployment reaches Great Depression levels, millions still unable to obtain assistance

By Shannon Jones, 1 May 2020

With the official jobless rate expected to reach 20 percent, millions find they cannot get state unemployment benefits as overloaded systems crash.

Stock markets surge as Fed pledges to continue corporate handouts

By Nick Beams, 30 April 2020

Despite figures showing the deepest economic contraction since the 2008 financial crisis, the Dow closed up by over 500 points.