The real face of the economic “recovery”

Mass layoffs hit North America, Europe and Japan

By Kate Randall
7 February 2014

A wave of layoff announcements over the past week has exposed the reality of the economic “recovery” touted by the Obama administration and governments worldwide. Deep-going job cuts are hitting the manufacturing, pharmaceutical, technology and retail sectors across North America, Europe and Japan.

Despite stagnant revenues, reflecting sluggish economic growth, companies are reporting booming profits. These profit gains are almost entirely due to a relentless assault on jobs, wages and working conditions being carried out by the ruling class.

The layoff of tens of thousands of workers comes amid news of unprecedented compensation packages for the heads of major US corporations. It is combined with ruthless austerity measures in the US and across Europe. As the chasm between rich and poor continues to grow, social programs and benefits upon which millions rely are being gutted.

Even as they continue to attack jobs and wages, the corporations, with the full backing of the Obama administration and governments worldwide, are sitting on massive cash reserves. US corporations are estimated to be holding a cash hoard of $1.5 trillion.

Instead of using this money for productive investment and an expansion of employment, the corporate-financial elite is using it to finance speculative operations and stock buyback programs that drive up share prices and further enrich corporate CEOs and big investors—at the expense of the living standards of billions of people around the world.

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