US Economy

Majority of US public aid recipients are from working families

By Zaida Green, 25 April 2015

Some 73 percent of people enrolled in public welfare programs, including food assistance, come from families with at least one member who is employed.

Most US states saw jobs losses in March

By Ed Hightower, 24 April 2015

Nonfarm payroll employment declined in 31 states and the District of Columbia last month, further belying the Obama administration’s claims of an economic “recovery.”

More layoffs as global oil price slump continues

By Niles Williamson, 18 April 2015

The world’s largest oilfield service company, Schlumberger, announced this week that as a result of declining oil production it will cut 11,000 jobs worldwide, bringing the firm’s total layoffs so far this year to 20,000.

Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hired by hedge fund Citadel

By Andre Damon, 18 April 2015

Bernanke’s new job constitutes little more than a kickback for services rendered to Wall Street.

The insider trading fix and class justice in America

By Barry Grey, 8 April 2015

In America, “justice” for the working class and poor is remorseless, brutal and final.

March US jobs growth slowest since 2013

By Andre Damon, 4 April 2015

The latest jobs report adds to a growing body of data showing that US economic growth has slowed significantly over the past six months.

US layoffs mount amid signs of economic slowdown

By Andre Damon, 28 March 2015

US steel companies announced thousands of layoffs this week.

Republican budget plan slashes Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps

By Patrick Martin, 28 March 2015

Similar plans were passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday and the Senate early Friday.

Merger between Heinz and Kraft likely to destroy thousands of jobs

By Gabriel Black, 27 March 2015

H.J. Heinz and Kraft Foods announced Wednesday that they would merge to form the world’s fifth-largest food company.

Unemployment benefits availability in US at lowest level in history

By E.P. Bannon, 23 March 2015

Only 23.1 percent of unemployed workers were receiving benefits in December 2014, the lowest level since unemployment insurance benefits were first established.

Detroit to resume mass water shutoffs

By Andre Damon, 21 March 2015

As many as 28,000 households in America’s poorest large city face having their water service shut off.

US stocks surge as Fed signals slower rise in interest rates

By Barry Grey, 19 March 2015

Any tightening of the central bank cash spigot threatens to bring the bull market, and the windfalls it provides the rich and the super-rich, crashing down.

Financial markets hang on wording of US Federal Reserve statement

By Nick Beams, 18 March 2015

Global financial markets are waiting to see how soon the Fed may begin to raise interest rates.

Wall Street bonuses at highest level since 2008 crash

By Shannon Jones, 18 March 2015

The $28.5 billion in Wall Street bonuses is double the annual pay for the 1 million US workers employed full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

US retail sales fall for third consecutive month

By Gabriel Black, 14 March 2015

The sustained decline in retail sales underscores the emergence of a new economic slump threatening workers’ livelihoods.

Pennsylvania budget underfunds education, cuts taxes for the wealthy

By Samuel Davidson, 13 March 2015

Tax increases for the working class, including sales and income taxes, underwrite much of what is new in Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s budget.

Report alleges systemic neglect of special needs students at New Orleans charter school

By Tom Hall, 12 March 2015

The scandal exposes the social devastation wrought by the pro-corporate charter “reform” implemented following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Behind the US jobs report: Low wages and persistent mass unemployment

By Gabriel Black, 7 March 2015

The nominal fall in the unemployment rate ignores the millions of workers who have given up looking for a job, while those jobs that have been created are primarily low-wage.

Target announces layoff of several thousand workers in US

By Matthew MacEgan, 5 March 2015

The retail giant Target announced this week that it is cutting jobs in order to save $2 billion, which will be invested in its online business.

Wealth of world’s billionaires surges past $7 trillion

By Joseph Kishore, 4 March 2015

The inexorable rise in the wealth of the ultra-rich, amidst economic stagnation, is an expression of the parasitic character of world capitalism.

US economy in deflation and slump

By Andre Damon, 28 February 2015

The latest figures belie claims that the US is a counterbalance to the overall slump and deflation that now encompass most of the world.

Record global stock prices reflect growth of financial parasitism

By Nick Beams, 27 February 2015

The emergence of negative bond yields signifies that the international bond market is being transformed into a gigantic Ponzi scheme.

Child poverty at devastating levels in US cities and states

By Patrick Martin, 26 February 2015

Detroit, once an industrial powerhouse, now has a child poverty rate of 59 percent, while African-American child poverty rates are actually worse in the Midwest than in the Deep South.

In testimony before US Congress, Fed chair signals likely delay in interest rate hike

By Andre Damon, 26 February 2015

Fed Chair Janet Yellen stressed “patience” in raising interest rates, sending stock prices to new record highs.

White House economic report calls for cutting corporate taxes

By Andre Damon, 24 February 2015

The White House economic report released last week seeks to justify right-wing, pro-business policies in the name of “middle-class economics.”

Auto workers speak out in support of oil strike

By our reporters, 23 February 2015

Ford workers in Chicago and Chrysler workers outside Detroit called for expanding the strike to other industries.

Boston, Massachusetts storm-related crisis deepens at MBTA

By John Marion, 13 February 2015

The breakdown of the Greater Boston public transportation system, caused by years of grossly inadequate maintenance funding, has deepened in the wake of another storm.

Official enthusiasm over January jobs report belied by economic reality

By Nick Barrickman, 7 February 2015

Media figures and politicians hailed the latest US jobs report as evidence of an economic turnaround, ignoring the thousands of store closings and layoffs announced in recent days.

US electronics retailer RadioShack files for bankruptcy

By Evan Blake, 6 February 2015

The company has been squeezed by competition from Walmart and Amazon, as well as Best Buy and other traditional electronics retailers.

Office supply giants Staples and Office Depot announce $6.3 billion merger

By Nick Barrickman, 6 February 2015

The deal, which will lead to job losses for thousands of workers, is part of the growing monopolization in all parts of the American economy.

The GM-UAW profit-sharing fraud

By Jerry White, 6 February 2015

The profit-sharing checks being passed out by the Detroit automakers are a pittance compared to what auto workers have lost through wage and benefit cuts.

Falling oil prices trigger new layoffs, budget cuts in Louisiana and Texas

By E.P. Bannon, 5 February 2015

Low oil prices have sparked layoffs and pay cuts throughout all sectors of industry.

The Obama budget: A populist fig leaf for militarism and reaction

By Patrick Martin, 4 February 2015

The budget document released Monday is another attempt by President Obama to disguise his program of war and austerity with populist phrases.

S&P agrees to sweetheart settlement on inflated ratings of subprime mortgages

By Andre Damon, 4 February 2015

The settlement amounts to yet another slap on the wrist for companies whose fraudulent activities contributed to the 2008 financial collapse.

US wage and GDP growth decline in the fourth quarter

By Gabriel Black, 2 February 2015

While the United States has been slowly adding jobs, many of these jobs are in low-wage sectors or industries that are moving in that direction.

Maryland’s new Republican governor unveils austerity budget

By Trent Novak, 31 January 2015

In his first move since taking office last week, Maryland’s newly inaugurated governor, Republican Larry Hogan, unveiled an austerity budget aimed at eliminating a $750 million shortfall.

Income inequality soars in every US state

By Andre Damon, 30 January 2015

In the period between 1979 and 2007, every state in the US saw the income share of the top 1 percent grow by at least 25 percent.

US stock sell-off in response to Fed policy statement on interest rates

By Barry Grey, 29 January 2015

The Fed has come under increasing pressure from Wall Street to delay any rate hike until the final months of this year or some time in 2016.

Concerns over Fed tightening as deflation fears grow

By Nick Beams, 28 January 2015

William White, former chief economist at the Bank for International Settlements, declared, “We’re seeing true currency wars and everybody is doing it, and I have no idea where this is going to end.”

Delinquency rates for auto loans hit highest level since 2008

By Douglas Lyons, 28 January 2015

Rising delinquency rates have paralleled the growth of “subprime” auto lending.

Mass job losses unfold in global oil industry

By Gabriel Black, 26 January 2015

Several major oil service companies announced that they would cut significant sections of their workforce, leading to tens of thousands of new layoffs.

Fate of GM production in Canada uncertain

By Carl Bronski, 24 January 2015

The automaker has remained silent on its plans for continued production in Canada beyond 2017.

More than half of US public school students living in poverty

By Andre Damon, 19 January 2015

For the first time in at least fifty years, most public school students in the US are considered low-income.

The coming fight over wages in the US

By Jerry White, 19 January 2015

Several leading newspapers and think tanks have pointed to the long-term stagnation of wages as the catalyst for a potentially explosive movement over wages by the working class.

December sales slump reflects precarious economic conditions facing US households

By Andre Damon, 16 January 2015

US retail sales unexpectedly fell 0.9 percent in December, a key holiday shopping month, in the largest drop in nearly a year.

Hundreds of thousands of US layoffs expected as oil boom unravels

By Gabriel Black, 15 January 2015

The collapse of oil prices is reverberating throughout the US economy, with the number of operating oil rigs reduced, job cuts mounting and several states seeing a huge loss of revenue.

Union shuts down strike, pushes sellout of Maryland sanitation workers

By Todd Mason and Nick Barrickman, 12 January 2015

Nearly 100 Maryland sanitation workers returned to work last Thursday after their union agreed to a federal mediator’s request to end the strike without securing any of the workers’ basic demands.

Drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan

By James Brewer, 12 January 2015

Only months after severing its contract with the Detroit water system, the city of Flint faces a crisis.

Headline figures in December jobs report mask worsening conditions for US workers

By Gabriel Black, 10 January 2015

Although the official unemployment rate fell in December, workers’ wages declined and the labor force participation rate fell to the lowest level in 38 years.

“We’re becoming slaves”

Postal workers speak out against plant closures and speed-up

By Hector Cordon, 10 January 2015

The United States Postal Service began closing 82 mail processing facilities nationwide this week, impacting 15,000 employees.

US Steel to close plant in Lorain, Ohio and lay off 756 workers

By Kevin Martinez, 7 January 2015

The giant steelmaker, which produces pipes for oil drilling at its Cleveland area mill, blamed falling oil prices for the downsizing.

Figure hits $4.1 trillion

Wealth of world’s 400 richest billionaires rose $92 billion in 2014

By Andre Damon, 3 January 2015

The wealth of the global financial elite soared last year amid surging stock markets fueled by cash infusions from central banks.

Jacksonville, Florida residents speak on inadequate minimum wage increase

By Juan Rodriguez and Matthew Taylor, 3 January 2015

Florida’s minimum wage is increasing from $7.93 per hour to $8.05 per hour, a difference of merely 1.5 percent.

New Orleans elementary school holds coat drive for homeless students

By Tom Hall, 31 December 2014

In addition to high levels of homelessness, 98 percent of students at McDonogh 32 Literacy Charter School are eligible for free or reduced school lunches.

The Dow at 18,000: Contradictions mount in world economy

By Nick Beams, 27 December 2014

The ever-widening gap between financial markets and the real economy is creating the conditions for economic turmoil and the eruption of social and political struggles.

At least 786 US children died while being monitored by child protection authorities

By Tom Hall, 27 December 2014

The AP report, which covers a six-year period, states that the government does a “terrible job” of accounting for child deaths.

Christmas for Wall Street: Dow hits record 18,000 points

By Jerry White, 24 December 2014

While tens of millions of Americans face a holiday season of economic insecurity and rising household debt, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index hit a record high on Tuesday.

Navistar closing foundry in Indianapolis, Indiana

By Jerry White, 22 December 2014

The plant closing, which comes after the UAW accepted a 40 percent wage cut, is the latest in the area, long-known as a major automotive and manufacturing center.

US wealth gap largest on record

By Joseph Kishore, 19 December 2014

A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that the median net worth for low-income US families has fallen by nearly 50 percent since 2007.

Fed Chair Yellen reassures Wall Street on record low interest rates

By Andre Damon, 18 December 2014

The US Federal Reserve pledged Wednesday it would be “patient” in raising the benchmark interest rate, sparking a sharp run-up in stock prices.

Federal judges overturn insider trading convictions

By Thomas Gaist, 13 December 2014

The ruling underscores the fact that financial criminals are held to different legal standards than the rest of the population

Financialization of rental market threatens future of home ownership in US

By Michelle Ryan, 13 December 2014

Following the 2008 subprime mortgage collapse, the firms responsible for the crisis are creating a rental empire out of the very homes they foreclosed on.

US Congress to vote on union-backed plan to cut workers’ pensions

By Jerry White, 12 December 2014

A measure attached to the US government funding bill and backed by several major unions would cut pension benefits for millions of private sector workers.

Obama embraces Republican budget bill

By Patrick Martin, 12 December 2014

The White House said Obama would sign the bill funding the federal government, despite a provision that removes even the most limited restraints on Wall Street speculation.

Detroit Emergency Manager Orr departs as bankruptcy cuts take effect

By Shannon Jones, 12 December 2014

The formal implementation of the Detroit bankruptcy settlement, a massive social crime, was the occasion for further self-congratulations on the part of the political establishment.

Wages flat despite job growth in latest US employment report

By Niles Williamson, 6 December 2014

While the latest US jobs report continues the trend of moderate job growth, American workers’ wages remain flat, with wage increases barely outpacing inflation.

Infrastructure collapse blacks out large portions of Detroit

By Thomas Gaist, 3 December 2014

The blackout underscores the dangers arising from the sweeping privatizations that are part of the bankruptcy restructuring of Detroit.

US retail sales plunge during “Black Friday” weekend

By Patrick Martin, 2 December 2014

The fall in sales reflects the fact that the disposable incomes of working-class households continue to stagnate and decline.

The impoverishment of industrial workers in America

By Jerry White, 25 November 2014

Recent reports highlight the historic reversal in the living standards of American workers that underlies Obama’s supposed economic recovery.

Report calls for ending guaranteed affordable housing for Washington, DC residents

By Adam Soroka and Nick Barrickman, 25 November 2014

City officials latched onto the report, citing “practical realities” of implementing a plan to guarantee affordable housing for the city’s working population.

Senate hearings on Wall Street crimes: The bankers rule

By Barry Grey, 24 November 2014

The two hearings were exercises in political theater, with politicians posturing as critics of Wall Street and bank executives and Fed officials making little effort to conceal their contempt.

Chicago commuter rail agency approves a decade of fare hikes

By Jeff Lusanne, 24 November 2014

Metra’s board of directors has approved a plan to raise fares 68 percent over the next 10 years.

Wall Street banks and commodities fraud

By Joseph Kishore, 21 November 2014

A new US Senate report documents yet another aspect of the criminality that pervades the American and global financial system.

US government, corporations preparing new offensive against workers’ pensions

By Jerry White, 20 November 2014

The release of the annual Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation report is being seized upon to demand a new round of pension cuts for private-sector workers.

City workers denounce Detroit bankruptcy ruling

By Shannon Jones, 15 November 2014

In contrast to the official celebration by the political and corporate establishment, workers are reacting to the ruling with bitterness and anger

The Detroit bankruptcy ruling: Suspending democracy to impose the dictates of Wall Street

By Tom Carter, 14 November 2014

The decision by federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes is a landmark ruling, establishing a pseudo-legal framework for suspending democracy and the rule of law.

Two years after the Libor scandal

Banks get token fines for rigging global foreign exchange rates

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey, 13 November 2014

Major international financial institutions, with the knowledge of at least one central bank, conspired to rig the multitrillion-dollar foreign exchange market.

AIG lawsuit reveals global economy on the brink

By Gabriel Black, 10 November 2014

The US government’s bailout of insurance giant AIG in September 2008 channeled tens of billions of dollars to the largest Wall Street banks.

Low-paying service-sector jobs predominate in October US jobs report

By Andre Damon, 8 November 2014

The so-called “recovery” proclaimed by the Obama administration is premised on continued high unemployment and stagnating wages.

Warner Brothers to slash over 10 percent of its workforce

By Kevin Martinez, 4 November 2014

The studio is expected to lay off over 1,000 workers as part of a $200 million cost-cutting plan.

Amidst slowdown in global economy

Europe threatened with deflationary spiral

By Barry Grey, 30 October 2014

There are growing warnings of a deflationary spiral, in which falling prices create a vicious cycle of bankruptcies and layoffs leading to more bankruptcies and layoffs.

US Federal Reserve ends “quantitative easing” program after funneling trillions to financial markets

By Joseph Kishore, 30 October 2014

The expected move by the Fed was accompanied by the pledge to keep interest rates at their current near-zero rates for a “considerable time.”

Automakers, US federal regulators limit recall of deadly airbags

By Shannon Jones, 28 October 2014

US federal safety regulators have limited the recall of vehicles equipped with defective airbags to a restricted geographical area.

US child poverty remains at highest rate in 20 years

By Andre Damon, 27 October 2014

A report published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics found that nearly one in four US children lives in poverty, and a similar proportion do not get enough to eat.

Rise in US corporate profits fueled by fall in real wages

By Jerry White, 24 October 2014

Caterpillar, Boeing, GE and GM led US manufacturers with better-than-expected third quarter profits.

Automakers covered up deadly airbag defect

By Shannon Jones, 23 October 2014

Reports indicate that Honda and other automakers knew that airbags on their vehicles could explode, posing a risk of death or injury to occupants, but dragged out a recall.

Market gyrations and the need for socialism

By Nick Beams, 21 October 2014

The wild swings on financial markets last week indicate that the crisis which erupted in 2008 is returning in an even more explosive form.

White House publicity stunt offers no relief to long-term jobless workers

By Jerry White, 16 October 2014

With the mid-term elections approaching, the meeting was designed to counter the public perception that the administration is indifferent to the plight of the long-term unemployed.

Reports point to worsening conditions for Pennsylvania workers

By Douglas Lyons, 15 October 2014

Newly released figures show declining or stagnating wages and widening social inequality

Majority of Buffalo, New York, children live in poverty

“The rich are getting richer and they don’t care about the poor”

By Michelle Ryan, 13 October 2014

The upstate New York city’s 50.6 percent child poverty rate ranks third worst in the nation, behind Detroit (59 percent) and Cleveland (54 percent).

Wal-Mart to eliminate health benefits for 30,000 workers

By Andre Damon, 9 October 2014

Wal-Mart announced this week that it would join Target and Home Depot in slashing healthcare for part-time workers in response to the Affordable Care Act.

The bank bailout and the Forbes 400

By Andre Damon, 8 October 2014

Six years since the 2008 bank bailout, the wealth of the 400 richest people in the United States has nearly doubled.

Detroit mayor and city council president voice full support for continued financial dictatorship

By Thomas Gaist, 8 October 2014

After dropping their rhetorical opposition to the emergency manager, Mayor Mike Duggan and City Council President Brenda Jones were given seats on the financial control board.

Hewlett-Packard layoffs to total more than 55,000

By Dan Conway, 8 October 2014

The job cuts are part of HP’s plan to split into two separate organizations—computer operations and business technologies.

Wealth of richest 400 Americans surges to $2.29 trillion

By Andre Damon, 6 October 2014

The net worth of the Forbes 400 grew thirteen percent this year amidst a soaring stock market and record corporate profits.

US labor force participation rate hits lowest level since 1978

By Andre Damon, 4 October 2014

The headline figure of 248,000 jobs added in September obscures the fundamental trends of the US labor market: mass unemployment, a sharp fall in the labor force participation rate and declining wages.

The demise of “bond king” Bill Gross: Financial and political implications

By Nick Beams, 4 October 2014

The sudden departure of Bill Gross as chief executive of the world’s largest bond trading firm could be a new source of instability for financial markets

Federal judge opens door to the shredding of California public worker pensions

By Gabriel Black, 3 October 2014

The ruling in the Stockton case will encourage a wave of bankruptcies across America’s most populous state

Seattle workers to be hit by transit fare increases, cuts to service

By Christine Schofelt, 3 October 2014

A proposed two-tier fare scheme in Seattle is an effort to distract from rising rates and cuts in public transit service.

King County, Washington, budget proposes layoffs and deep cuts to social services

By Richard Vargas, 3 October 2014

A 10 percent cut at the public health department will lead to clinic closures and discontinued services such as testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.