US Economy

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.

US social inequality in two graphs

Income gains after recessions increasingly go to the wealthy

By Tom Hall and Andre Damon, 2 October 2014

Social inequality has grown far more than most people realize, recent academic papers show.

Share buybacks: Symptom of a decaying economic order

By Nick Beams, 26 September 2014

US corporations are increasingly using their profits to finance share buybacks rather than productive investment, spending more than $500 billion last year.

Testimony reveals public health danger and suffering caused by Detroit water shutoffs

By Lawrence Porter, 26 September 2014

Victims of water shutoffs and public health experts gave evidence about the impact the city’s water shutoff policy.

One in five US workers laid off during the recession still unemployed

By Andre Damon, 23 September 2014

A Rutgers University study released Monday shows that the overwhelming majority of the three million long-term unemployed receive no government assistance.

Detroit bankruptcy judge holds hearing on water shutoffs

By Thomas Gaist, 23 September 2014

The present proceedings are in the main political theatre aimed at boosting the credibility of the judge as a supposedly “neutral arbiter.”

Microsoft cuts 2,100 jobs, closes Silicon Valley research lab

By Kate Randall, 20 September 2014

The layoffs are the second round in a plan to axe 18,000 jobs this fiscal year at Microsoft.

Virginia officials announce massive state budget cuts

By Nick Barrickman, 20 September 2014

The deal would allow for the cutting of over $500 million in the next two years.

US Federal Reserve reaffirms commitment to near-zero interest rates

By Andre Damon, 18 September 2014

US stocks hit record highs after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank would continue to keep interest rates near zero “for a considerable time.”

Detroit bankruptcy conspiracy enters its final stage

By Jerry White, 17 September 2014

After reaching settlements with key players over the past week, the federal bankruptcy court is moving quickly to approve the anti-working class restructuring plan.

Forty five million in poverty in the US

By Andre Damon, 17 September 2014

Figures released by the Census Bureau Tuesday showed that the number of people in poverty remained at the highest level on record, while household incomes stagnated last year.

Detroit charged $126 million by law firms and consultants in bankruptcy case

By Thomas Gaist, 17 September 2014

Jones Day, the former law firm of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, has charged the city nearly $50 million.

Six years since the Wall Street crash

By Nick Beams, 15 September 2014

Six years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the world economy has not only failed to recover, the conditions for a new financial catastrophe are in the making.

Potential RadioShack bankruptcy threatens 27,000 employees

By Gabriel Black, 13 September 2014

Electronics retailer RadioShack said Thursday that it is likely to file for bankruptcy unless it can secure a funding lifeline.

New Federal Reserve report

US median income has plunged, inequality has grown in Obama “recovery”

By Andre Damon, 6 September 2014

The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, released Thursday, shows that the income of a typical US household has fallen by 12 percent in just six years.

Year-low US job growth in August

By Andre Damon, 6 September 2014

The latest US jobs report shows that the US labor force participation rate fell to the lowest level in three and a half decades.

The Bank of America settlement and the “justice” of capitalism

By Andre Damon, 23 August 2014

The Obama administration’s latest settlement with Bank of America imposes a wrist-slap fine and shields bankers from prosecution.

US Fed chair Yellen seeks to “buy time” on monetary policy

By Nick Beams, 23 August 2014

Speaking at the Jackson Hole conference, Yellen tried to balance between the financial markets’ demands for continued cheap cash and pressure from within the Fed for a more normal policy.

Unemployment up in most US states

By Nick Barrickman, 20 August 2014

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that joblessness grew in 30 out of 51 states during July.

New report details depth of hunger crisis in the United States

By Shannon Jones, 19 August 2014

Fourteen percent of Americans rely on food pantries to feed themselves and their families.

Financial meltdown threatened by bankruptcy of any Wall Street bank

By Gabriel Black, 13 August 2014

The outcome of the 2008 crash and the government’s response has been a further concentration of economic power in the hands of the biggest banks.

Detroit mayor employs damage control as city prepares to resume water shutoffs

By Thomas Gaist, 13 August 2014

Mayor Mike Duggan's “10-point plan” is part of political maneuvers being orchestrated by Detroit’s political establishment to dampen popular outrage over mass water shutoffs

Obama’s “recovery” and the social crisis in America

By Andre Damon, 12 August 2014

While Obama and the political establishment proclaim economic “recovery,” new reports show that the majority of US households are worse off now than they were five years ago.

A “lost year” for Washington, DC economy

By Adam Soroka, 12 August 2014

Fewer than 6,000 jobs, the majority of which are low-paying, have been created in the DC area this year.

Fed Report: Most US families can't raise $400

By Andre Damon, 9 August 2014

More than two-thirds of Americans are no better off now than they were in the worst part of the 2008 downturn, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Friday.

Bank of America reaches $16 billion mortgage fraud settlement

By Gabriel Black, 9 August 2014

Bank of America’s deal with the Obama administration is designed to ensure that no banker will be prosecuted for the bank’s role in the criminal practices that crashed the world economy.

US markets in biggest fall for six months

By Nick Beams, 4 August 2014

US markets fell this week on fear that the Fed may tighten interest rates sooner than expected and a report showing a rise in labour costs.

New York judge upholds US efforts to seize emails from Microsoft

By Thomas Gaist, 4 August 2014

A New York judge ruled that the US government has jurisdiction over all data stored overseas by US companies.

Low turnout at Detroit “Water Affordability” stunt

By our reporters, 4 August 2014

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department held a public relations event on the city’s impoverished east side as it prepares to resume mass water shutoffs.

Mediocre US jobs report points to ongoing unemployment crisis

By Gabriel Black, 2 August 2014

The US economy added 209,000 jobs in July, below analysts’ predictions and less than the amount of jobs needed to keep up with population growth.

Wave of traffic fatalities in Detroit highlights disrepair of infrastructure

By Nick Barrickman, 2 August 2014

The increasing number of traffic accidents and fatalities takes place under conditions where Detroit’s public lighting system is collapsing.

US economy grew at 4.0 percent in second quarter

By Andre Damon, 31 July 2014

The US economy grew at an annualized rate of 4.0 percent in the second quarter, following a 2.1 percent contraction in the first three months of 2014.

Debt delinquency soars in US

By Andre Damon, 30 July 2014

About one-third of adults in the US—some 77 million people—have debt in collections, meaning it is six months past due or more.

The financial bubble economy

By Andre Damon, 28 July 2014

The open secret of the US economy is that the extraordinary rise in the stock markets is entirely disconnected from the real economy.

CEO says Boeing plans to keep its workers “cowering”

By Hector Cordon, 28 July 2014

In a discussion with Wall Street analysts on Boeing’s second quarter showing, CEO McNerney bragged that “employees will still be cowering” if he stays on a few more years as chief executive.

Washington, DC workers speak out against social inequality and rising costs of living

By Todd Mason, 25 July 2014

A new report documents the steep rise in social inequality that has developed in Washington, DC since the economic crisis of 2008

SEP rallies workers and youth against Detroit water shutoffs

By David Brown, 25 July 2014

The Socialist Equality Party and the Detroit Workers Committee held a rally at the water department’s central facility even as city officials continued shutoffs despite the so-called 15-day “pause.”

Pharmaceutical company Allergan to lay off 1,500 workers

By David Brown, 22 July 2014

The announcement comes only days after Microsoft announced plans to lay off 18,000 workers.

Detroit officials announce 15-day “pause” of mass water shutoffs

By Jerry White, 22 July 2014

The temporary suspension of shutoffs is a public relations move as the city prepares to escalate a brutal policy that has left thousands without water.

Video: Detroit residents speak out against water shutoffs

By James Brewer, 22 July 2014

In this video, Detroit residents speak out against water shutoffs at a bill payment center and rally against water shutoffs.

“We are not living in a democratic society”

Opposition grows to Detroit water shutoffs

By our reporters, 21 July 2014

The shut off of water to tens of thousands of Detroit residents has provoked widespread anger and opposition throughout the city and beyond.

Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs

By Andre Damon, 18 July 2014

Software giant Microsoft announced plans to eliminate 18,000 jobs over the next year, becoming the fourth major US technology company to announce mass layoffs since January.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The social crisis in America’s Rust Belt

By Niles Williamson, 17 July 2014

The destruction of manufacturing jobs in America’s “Rust Belt” has left Milwaukee’s workers fighting high unemployment, poverty and food insecurity.

In congressional testimony, Fed Chair Yellen reassures Wall Street

By Barry Grey, 16 July 2014

Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated her determination to keep interest rates at historic lows for the indefinite future.

Metro Washington, DC among the most unequal areas in US

By Nick Barrickman, 15 July 2014

Child poverty in the DC area has increased by nearly 25 percent since the recession began, from 8.2 to 10.7 percent today.

Mine and car job cuts drive up Australia’s unemployment

By Mike Head, 15 July 2014

Falling commodity prices and restructuring by mining and auto companies are expected to send the jobless rate even higher.

SEP campaigns against water shutoffs in Detroit

By Jake Dean, 15 July 2014

A Detroit-area teacher said, “To shut off water and give no alternative to these people, the whole world should be appalled.”

Atlantic City, New Jersey casino to close, sign of worsening US jobs crisis

By Philip Guelpa, 14 July 2014

The owners of the Trump Plaza resort casino in Atlantic City announced on Saturday that it would close in September, laying off approximately 1,000 workers.

Obama administration to shield Citigroup executives in mortgage fraud settlement

By Gabriel Black, 12 July 2014

Citigroup, the third-largest US bank, is set to reach a $7 billion settlement with the Department of Justice over charges that it sold fraudulent mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the 2008 crash.

Portugal banking crisis sparks global stock selloff

By Andre Damon, 11 July 2014

Stocks plunged in Europe and the US Thursday amid a sell-off in the Portuguese banking sector, prompting fears of a resurgence of the European debt crisis.

“It is inhumane”

Detroit water shutoffs hit families, ill and elderly residents

By a WSWS reporting team, 10 July 2014

Thousands more Detroit families had their water shut off this week as part of the city administration’s plan to cut service to 150,000 households who are overdue on their water bills.

Video: Detroit residents speak out on water shutoffs

By Tim Rivers, 9 July 2014

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to Detroit residents as they waited in line at water payment centers, doing their best to get running water turned back on to their homes.

The 17,000 Dow: Surging towards a disaster

By Nick Beams, 7 July 2014

Explosive contradictions in global finance are building up as stock markets continue to rise.

”I take my elderly aunt four buckets of water a day”

Detroit residents and water workers speak out against water shutoffs

By Muhammad Khan and Shannon Jones, 7 July 2014

The city of Detroit is racing ahead with its plans to shut off water to some 150,000 families who cannot afford to pay their water bills.

A revealing speech by US Fed chief Yellen

By Nick Beams, 4 July 2014

The US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen has committed to continuing the policies that are preparing the conditions for another financial crash.

US jobs report shows growth in part-time, low-wage work

By Andre Damon, 4 July 2014

The jobs created last month were largely part-time and low-wage, continuing the trend of replacing workers laid off during the 2008 crash with lower-paid, highly exploited employees.

US students and graduates speak on the burden of college debt

By Khara Sikhan and Matthew MacEgan, 3 July 2014

Forty percent of young people in the US call their student debt “overwhelming, ” according to a survey published by Wells Fargo last month.

Workers on Detroit water shutoffs: “They are making it so you can’t live”

By Shannon Jones, 30 June 2014

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is backing a brutal shutoff policy aimed at residents who are behind in their water bills.

Pennsylvania budget: Layoffs, cuts to education and pensions

By Samuel Davidson, 30 June 2014

Governor Tom Corbett is demanding pensions be cut and liquor stores privatized as part of any budget deal.

Multi-millionaire Hillary Clinton denies she is part of the “truly well-off”

By Andre Damon, 25 June 2014

Bill and Hillary Clinton have earned more than $100 million in speaking fees from corporations and business foundations.

US workers speak on gas prices related to renewed conflict in Iraq

By our reporters, 23 June 2014

Workers in US cities spoke to the WSWS about how they are affected by higher gasoline prices, with many taking the opportunity to denounce war in Iraq.

Former Goldman trader involved in fraudulent activities says $8 million bonus too low

By Andre Damon, 21 June 2014

A former Goldman Sachs trader who helped the bank bet against toxic mortgage-backed securities it was palming off to investors claims he was underpaid for his efforts.

Economy slumps, Wall Street booms

By Barry Grey, 20 June 2014

The Federal Reserve cut its estimate of US economic growth this year and scaled back its longer-term projection, a virtual admission that slump and falling living standards for the masses of people are here to stay.

Timothy Geithner’s Stress Test: Confessions of a Wall Street bag-man

By Andre Damon, 18 June 2014

Stress Test, the memoir published last month by former US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, documents the conspiracy to prepare and execute the 2008 bank bailout from the point of view of the operation’s leading architect.

IMF cuts projection for US economic growth

By Gabriel Black, 17 June 2014

The IMF warned Monday that unemployment and financial instability would continue to plague the US economy and recommended extending record low interest rates.

Detroit retirees denounce plan to raid city workers’ savings accounts

By Jerry White, 17 June 2014

Nearly 5,000 retired Detroit city workers will be forced to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in earnings from their annuity savings accounts.

Appeals court backs executive branch whitewash of Wall Street

By Gabriel Black, 10 June 2014

A Federal appeals court overturned a judge’s 2011 decision against a sweetheart deal between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Citibank.

Massive cuts to education, pensions and social services expected in Pennsylvania state budget

By Samuel Davidson, 9 June 2014

The state is facing a $1.3 to $1.5 billion deficit for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Wealth report shows deepening social polarization in US

By Patrick Martin, 7 June 2014

Federal Reserve figures show total US net worth rising to a record $81.8 trillion at the same time that the vast majority of working people are struggling to make end meets.

Tepid employment report masks depth of US jobs crisis

By Barry Grey, 7 June 2014

The fact that it has taken six-and-a half years to replace the millions of jobs lost in the recession is a measure of the depth of a crisis that continues to undermine the living standards of US workers.

US economy contracts as tens of thousands are laid off

By Matthew MacEgan, 4 June 2014

New reports show US gross domestic product, wage growth and consumer spending either stagnated or declined in the first quarter of 2014.