US Economy

Brexit vote highlights deepening crisis in global economy

By Nick Beams, 30 June 2016

The Brexit outcome has revealed acute problems in the “quantitative easing” program that the world’s major central banks have used to sustain the global financial system over the past eight years.

Dow Chemical slashes 2,500 jobs ahead of DuPont merger

By our reporter, 30 June 2016

The layoffs, which will hit workers in Michigan, North Carolina and Japan, are just the beginning of the bloodletting being prepared by the merging chemical giants.

Illinois public sector devastated as budget impasse approaches one-year mark

By Alexander Fangmann, 29 June 2016

Many parts of state and local government will soon run out of money as the Democratic-controlled state legislature and the Republican governor continue wrangling over how to slash public services.

Financial market turmoil continues in wake of Brexit vote

By Nick Beams, 28 June 2016

British government leaders have issued statements claiming they have the situation under control, but to no avail as financial markets continue to plummet.

After Brexit, mounting warnings of global slump and financial panic

By Andre Damon, 27 June 2016

The ongoing sell-off in global financial markets comes amid a chorus of warnings by international institutions that the world economy faces a deepening crisis.

Reports document social crisis

US wages and jobs decline, inequality rises

By Patrick Martin, 23 June 2016

Two reports issued over the past week shed light on the deepening social crisis in the United States and the deteriorating economic position of the working class.

IMF cuts estimates for US economic growth and points to worsening long-term trends

By Nick Beams, 23 June 2016

The IMF’s latest report on the US economy highlights “pernicious” tendencies that will impact heavily on growth and economic well-being.

On eve of Brexit referendum, mounting warnings of global trade war

By Andre Damon, 22 June 2016

The World Trade Organization warned that protectionist measures by leading economies has hit the highest level on records dating back to 2009.

The return of “secular stagnation”

By Nick Beams, 17 June 2016

Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen’s comments on Wednesday pointed to the emergence of “secular stagnation” in the global economy, a term first developed in the 1930s.

Fed holds interest rates amid mounting global turmoil

By Nick Beams, 16 June 2016

The Fed decision to keep interest rates on hold is an expression of the fact that what were once considered “normal” operations of the capitalist economy are breaking down.

Markets applaud speech by Fed Chair Yellen signaling delay in rate hikes

By Barry Grey, 8 June 2016

The response of markets to signs of economic distress and signals that the Fed will keep cheap credit flowing was typical of the period since the financial crash—relief and exultation.

US economy adds fewest jobs in five years

By Evan Blake, 4 June 2016

The US economy added only 38,000 jobs in May, the fewest since 2010, in another indication of the persistent slump gripping the US economy.

Economic conflicts threaten global trade war

By Nick Beams, 3 June 2016

The decision by the US International Trade Commission to launch an investigation into 40 Chinese steel producers has far-reaching implications.

US death rate rose in 2015

By Niles Niemuth, 2 June 2016

The mortality rate in the United States increased across the board last year, reflecting the impact of mass unemployment, austerity, stagnating wages and benefit cuts.

Warnings of slump in US economy

By Nick Beams, 28 May 2016

Falling investment and declining productivity threaten to trap the US economy in what commentators are calling a “low-growth mode.”

Currency conflicts surface at G-7 meeting

By Nick Beams, 23 May 2016

As with other major economic summits in the recent period, the weekend meeting of the G-7 could reach no agreement on co-ordinated measures to halt the stagnation of the global economy.

Sports Authority to close all stores, lay off 16,000

By George Gallanis, 21 May 2016

The announcement by Sports Authority (SA) follows a wave of recent closures from other retail companies.

US department store sales plunge, jobless claims rise

By Barry Grey, 17 May 2016

The slump in major chain store sales reflects the impact of a vast reordering of class relations in the US with devastating consequences for the working class.

East Cleveland, Ohio seeks bankruptcy protection

By Samuel Davidson, 16 May 2016

East Cleveland, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, is seeking permission to file for bankruptcy.

Highest-earning US hedge fund managers raked in $13 billion last year

By Niles Niemuth, 11 May 2016

The top hedge fund managers made more in a year than the cost of replacing all lead pipes in Flint, Michigan and fixing the city’s poisoned public water system.

Slowest US job growth in seven months

By Barry Grey, 7 May 2016

In typical fashion, President Obama and others in his administration attempted to present the April jobs report as a positive vindication of their economic policies.

Deepening contradictions within the global economy

By Nick Beams, 5 May 2016

Just as the economics of the present period are increasingly resembling the 1930s, so are the politics.

Poverty has become more concentrated under Obama

By Nancy Hanover, 2 May 2016

A new study reveals the dramatic increase in “high poverty” districts throughout the US in the wake of the 2008 crash.

Apple sales decline points to faultlines in global economy

By Barry Grey, 28 April 2016

Apple exemplifies the unprecedented and unsustainable inflation of stock prices since the Wall Street crash of September 2008.

Peabody Energy declares bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 26 April 2016

Amidst the deepening global economic crisis, the world’s largest coal company declared bankruptcy, threatening the living standards and working conditions of its 7,100 global workforce.

Seven dead, hundreds homeless in Houston, Texas flood

By Shelley Connor, 20 April 2016

Houston’s working class residents have been forced to flee rising waters with little assistance from the city or state governments.

Financial crisis panel urged Obama administration to prosecute top bankers

By Gabriel Black, 16 April 2016

Not a single bank executive or government official referred by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to the Obama Justice Department for criminal investigation has been prosecuted.

IMF to meet amid worsening stagnation and rising geo-economic tensions

By Nick Beams, 12 April 2016

As global growth continues to slow, there are rising concerns that the negative interest rate policies of major central banks are worsening the situation.

Fiat Chrysler layoffs hit workers in suburban Detroit

By Jerry White, 8 April 2016

The announcement that Fiat Chrysler is cutting 1,420 jobs at its Sterling Heights assembly plant foreshadows a new wave of downsizing in the auto industry.

Fiat Chrysler axing 1,400 jobs at Sterling Heights, Michigan plant

By Shannon Jones, 7 April 2016

The company is permanently eliminating one shift at the passenger car plant in suburban Detroit due to slumping sales.

Pennsylvania budget underfunds education, prepares attack on pensions

By Douglas Lyons, 4 April 2016

The deal leaves an estimated $2 billion deficit unresolved until the next fiscal year.

The social crisis and the US elections

By Barry Grey, 2 April 2016

Behind the phony economic “recovery,” the entire structure of employment in the United States is being radically altered to reduce the status of workers to that of a super-exploited casual labor force.

Following Machinists union betrayal

Boeing to slash 4,000-8,000 jobs

By Barry Grey, 31 March 2016

Both the IAM and the SPEEA reacted to the announcement of the job cuts with impotent appeals to the state legislature to bar the company from slashing jobs.

Global oil industry job losses continue to mount

By Tom Hall, 28 March 2016

Around 100,000 jobs have been lost in the US alone since 2015, with tens of thousands more job losses expected this year.

Michigan Kids Count report shows drastic rise in child poverty over last decade

By Zac Corrigan, 28 March 2016

Eighty of Michigan’s 83 counties show an increase in child poverty, with the statewide rate increasing by 23 percent since 2006.

Coal giant Peabody Energy on verge of bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 22 March 2016

In a string of bankruptcies, the courts are being used to attack the wages, pensions, health care and working conditions of miners—gains realized through decades of struggle.

New study says entire regions of US will remain in slump until the 2020s

By Jerry White, 21 March 2016

The figures on persistently high unemployment in large sections of the country coincide with new layoffs in the oil, coal, steel and other manufacturing industries in the US.

US Steel layoffs hit another 770 workers

By Samuel Davidson, 21 March 2016

The latest cuts at US Steel come just months after the USW passed a contract granting the company millions of dollars in concessions and cuts to health and retiree benefits.

US Federal Reserve aligns itself closer to market demands

By Nick Beams, 17 March 2016

Wednesday’s announcement by the US central bank that it intends to keep interest rates on hold and reduce the pace of rate hikes was welcomed by financial markets.

Study: Worsening conditions for young people throughout the developed world

By Nick Barrickman, 15 March 2016

Drawing on income statistics from eight of the world’s 15 most advanced economies, the series paints a picture of dimming social prospects for young people.

Hundreds of millions in cuts on the horizon in Louisiana

By Tom Hall, 15 March 2016

Education and health care, two areas of spending not protected from cuts by the state’s constitution, have faced years of budget-slashing.

Central banks confront unintended consequences

By Nick Beams, 15 March 2016

Markets are awaiting decisions by the Bank of Japan and the US Fed on monetary policies as concerns grow over negative interest rates.

UAW sanctions mass layoffs by farm equipment giant John Deere

By George Gallanis, 14 March 2016

Since November, John Deere has laid off 445 workers with the full complicity of the United Auto Workers.

Minnesota’s Iron Range hammered by steel industry layoffs

By a correspondent, 11 March 2016

The United Steelworkers and the Democratic Party have responded with nationalist demagogy, blaming China for “illegal dumping” of steel products on the US market.

US steel union hails Obama trade war measures

By Shannon Jones, 10 March 2016

Predictably, the USW showered praise on the Obama administration for measures targeting imported rolled steel.

Nearly one-third of US food stamp recipients rely on food pantries

By Kate Randall, 9 March 2016

A USDA study found that about 45 percent of SNAP clients limited food consumption, usually by skipping meals, to make it through the month.

TVA pension cuts: A new stage in the assault on American workers

By Niles Williamson, 5 March 2016

The attack on the pensions of federal employees is a warning that no section of the working class is exempt from the social counterrevolution being carried out in the interests of the financial aristocracy.

US employment report: Payrolls rise, wages fall

By Barry Grey, 5 March 2016

According to the Labor Department’s household survey, only 11.7 percent of new jobs created in February were full-time.

G-20 summit rules out coordinated stimulus

By Nick Beams, 29 February 2016

Despite calls for fiscal stimulus by the International Monetary Fund, the only area in which the major economic powers are increasing their spending is on the military.

Perplexity and divisions mark G-20 meeting

By Nick Beams, 26 February 2016

The G-20 meeting in Shanghai is riven by the widening divisions between the major capitalist powers as the crisis of the global economy intensifies.

US social crisis overshadows 2016 presidential election

By Patrick Martin, 26 February 2016

The American media gives round-the-clock coverage to the minutiae of capitalist politics, but very little attention is paid to the catastrophe facing the working class.

Slowdown in Pennsylvania natural gas industry adds to state budget crisis

By Douglas Lyons, 26 February 2016

The Pennsylvania natural gas industry, located in the Marcellus Shale region, has curtailed production and laid off hundreds of workers in response to declining gas and oil prices globally.

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living Since the Civil War

By Eric London, 23 February 2016

According to a recent book by Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon, there is no objective foundation for an end to economic stagnation in the United States.

Wal-Mart reports currency losses and falling sales, profits

By Patrick Martin, 20 February 2016

The giant retailer, the largest private employer in the United States, is under fire on Wall Street for failing to aggressively exploit online sales.

OECD downgrades global growth forecast

By Nick Beams, 19 February 2016

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said global growth has “practically flat-lined” and financial instability risks are on the rise.

Air conditioner maker Carrier to close two Indiana plants, slash 2,100 jobs

By Steve Filips, 19 February 2016

Anger erupted on the shop floor of an Indianapolis factory last week after a spokesman told workers the plant closing was the “best way to stay competitive.”

Stock market panic risks new financial crisis

By Andre Damon, 12 February 2016

The global sell-off expresses growing fears that the trillions pumped into the financial system since 2008 have done nothing to improve its underlying health, and may have sown the seeds for a crash on an even greater scale.

Amid mounting signs of slump and financial crisis

Fed seeks to reassure markets on rate increases

By Barry Grey, 11 February 2016

Yellen broadly hinted that the Fed would hold off on a further increase in its benchmark federal funds interest rate when its policy-making Federal Open Market Committee meets again in mid-March.

A new stage in the global economic breakdown

By Nick Beams, 9 February 2016

The growing financial crisis in China, marked by capital flight and mounting concerns over debt levels, is accompanied by increasing doubts about the stability of the entire global banking system.

Job losses mount in US steel and aluminum industries

Arcelormittal announces $8 billion loss

By Samuel Davidson, 8 February 2016

Manufacturers have posted record losses amid a massive fall in prices and continuing slump in domestic and world demand.

Recession risk on the rise

By Nick Beams, 6 February 2016

Falling yields in US and global bond markets point to a rising risk of recession as the IMF warns that commodity-exporting countries are coming under “severe stress.”

Global manufacturing continues to fall

By Nick Beams, 2 February 2016

The Chinese steel industry recorded a loss of more than $9 billion for 2015, in the clearest expression of China’s economic slowdown.

Wall Street celebrates mounting signs of US slump

By Andre Damon, 30 January 2016

The financial markets responded to a series of reports pointing to a sharp economic downturn in the US by staging a euphoric rally.

Wall Street falls on global growth fears

By Nick Beams, 28 January 2016

A downturn in the share prices of two major companies, Apple and Boeing, was responsible for more than half of yesterday’s fall in the Dow.

Global slowdown to deepen attacks on jobs

By Nick Beams, 25 January 2016

Stock markets recovered some of their losses at the end of the last week, but the underlying trend in the world economy is slower growth and outright recession.

Misery compounds as mass layoffs continue in West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 23 January 2016

Each week brings announcements of hundreds of layoffs in coal, rail or other industries across the state.

What is driving the stock market panic?

By Barry Grey, 18 January 2016

After more than seven years of bailouts and trillions in virtually free cash for the banks and financial markets, the real economy has not only not recovered from the Wall Street crash of 2008, it is rapidly deteriorating.

Global stocks plunge amid fears of a new financial crisis

By Barry Grey, 16 January 2016

Friday’s selloff, with the EURO STOXX/50 index down 2.37 percent and all of the major US indexes lower by well over 2 percent, caps off the worst-ever yearly opening for Wall Street.

Wal-Mart to close 269 stores worldwide

By Nick Barrickman, 16 January 2016

The big box retailer cited as causes for the closures competition with online retailers and the impact of marginal employee wage increases.

Wave of selling hits US markets

By Nick Beams, 14 January 2016

The sharp downturn in US markets has come amid a series of statements by banking officials that the conditions for a new financial crisis are rapidly developing.

The US in 2016: No money for social programs, cash to burn for the military

By Andre Damon, 12 January 2016

The US will spend hundreds of billions of dollars this year on warships, nuclear warheads and supersonic fighters, even as there is “no money” for vital social programs like food stamps.

Chinese markets continue to fall, amid mounting concerns over growth

By Nick Beams, 12 January 2016

The Shenzhen Composite Index has fallen by more than 20 percent so far this year, wiping off almost $1 trillion from share values.

Global markets continue to fall

By Nick Beams, 9 January 2016

The impact of events in China points to the worsening situation facing major Western corporations.

US jobs report: Employment numbers obscure deeper social crisis

By Tom Hall, 9 January 2016

While the economy unexpectedly added 292,000 jobs last month according to government figures, the situation facing American workers continues to worsen.

Survey finds a majority of Americans unable to pay for major unexpected expenses

By Nick Barrickman, 9 January 2016

Less than four in 10 Americans are able to pay out of pocket for an emergency expense of $1,000, such as an emergency room visit or the cost of repairing a broken down vehicle.

Stock markets continue to plunge amidst growing signs of economic crisis

By Andre Damon, 8 January 2016

The continued sell-off points to growing fears of a divergence between stock market values, which have been rising for nearly six years, and the slowdown of the world economy.

Global financial turmoil continues on fears of slower growth

By Nick Beams, 7 January 2016

The fall in oil prices to their lowest level in 11 years points to deepening recessionary trends that increase the risk of defaults in high-risk, high-yield bonds.

190 Muslim workers fired from Colorado meatpacking plant

By Tom Hall, 7 January 2016

The workers, mostly Somali refugees, walked off the job last month in protest after management at the Cargill plant refused to allow them prayer time at sundown.

IMF head warns of slow growth and economic “shocks” in 2016

By Barry Grey, 31 December 2015

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde wrote that global economic growth next year would be “disappointing” and the outlook for the medium term had also deteriorated.

A New Year’s sense of foreboding over the global economy

By Nick Beams, 30 December 2015

Economic developments in 2015 were dominated by intensifying recessionary trends throughout the world economy.

Ruthless cuts in West Virginia public employee health care

By Clement Daly, 29 December 2015

A large budget shortfall in the state’s Public Employees Insurance Agency has prompted “draconian” cuts to the health care of more than 200,000 state workers and retirees.

WTO buries Doha Round: Another rupture in the post-war order

By Nick Beams, 22 December 2015

The decision to end the Doha Round signifies the end of the multilateralism that formed a crucial foundation of post-World War II economic expansion.

After Fed rate hike, global economic fault lines deepen

By Nick Beams, 19 December 2015

The growing turbulence in financial markets is a manifestation of deepening recessionary trends in the global economy.

US Congress passes $1.8 trillion spending and tax package

By Kate Randall, 19 December 2015

The deal includes restrictions on the visa-waiver program and a cybersecurity measure that removes restrictions on direct information sharing by companies with government agencies.

Federal Reserve begins “dovish tightening” with first rate hike in nine years

By Barry Grey, 17 December 2015

Fed Chair Janet Yellen stressed that further increases would be incremental and gradual and interest rates would remain abnormally low, triggering a sharp rise in US stock prices.

Junk bond crisis brings “stress” warning

By Nick Beams, 15 December 2015

The price of oil is at its lowest point for seven years with natural gas prices at the lowest level in more than a decade, sparking a crisis in the bond markets.

Junk bond panic signals new stage in crisis of world capitalism

By Barry Grey, 14 December 2015

The mounting crisis in the junk bond market has profound and convulsive implications for the entire credit system, in the US and internationally.

Stocks plunge amid fears of global slump and credit meltdown

By Barry Grey, 12 December 2015

The global slowdown, reflected in collapsing prices for oil and other basic commodities, is now wreaking havoc on the corporate bond market.

Chemical giants DuPont and Dow in “advanced talks” about merger

By Gabriel Black, 11 December 2015

Two of the world’s largest chemical companies could merge in a move to cut costs amidst a deepening economic slump.

A new tipping point in the global economic crisis

By Nick Beams, 10 December 2015

Corporate defaults are on the rise, not only in the energy sector hit by falling prices, but across the board.

Mining giant Anglo American to cut 85,000 jobs

By Gabriel Black, 9 December 2015

The fifth largest mining corporation in the world, Anglo American, will reduce its workforce by 63 percent in response to low commodity prices and a stagnating global economy.

BIS warns of sudden end to “uneasy” financial calm

By Nick Beams, 8 December 2015

Junk bonds are heading for their first losses since the global financial crisis, indicating the present stock market boom may be living on borrowed time.

Number of US investable wealth millionaires grew by 8.6 percent in 2014

By Andre Damon, 5 December 2015

The growth in the number of “high net worth individuals,” who make up slightly more than one percent of the population, comes as the earnings of a typical household continue to decline.

US jobs report shows continued stagnation in manufacturing, rise in low-paid jobs

By Nick Barrickman, 5 December 2015

Today, there are 4.7 million less manufacturing jobs located within the United States than before the 2008 financial collapse.

Fed chair signals rate hike as ECB expands stimulus

By Barry Grey, 4 December 2015

The US economy remains depressed more than seven years after the 2008 Wall Street crash, with economic growth at about half the average rate for the post-World War II period.

Parasitism and the slump in US manufacturing

By Andre Damon, 2 December 2015

The money that corporations are refusing to spend on productive investment is being channeled back to the financial elite in the form of share buybacks, dividend hikes and increased CEO pay.

Entergy to shutter two nuclear plants in US, laying off 1,200

By Steve Filips, 2 December 2015

The upsurge in nuclear plant closures is being driven by lower energy prices due to the glut in the supply of oil and natural gas from the recent boom in fracturing.

US: More than 3,000 laid off in closure of Fresh & Easy grocery stores

By Jake Dean, 1 December 2015

All 97 of the chain’s locations in California, Arizona and Nevada were shut down last month.

Report: UAW auto contracts no threat to Big Three profits

By Shannon Jones, 30 November 2015

The business press is gloating over the fact that the new contracts imposed on autoworkers by the UAW are tailored to the needs of the auto bosses.

US meatpacking giant Tyson announces closure of two plants

By James Brewer, 21 November 2015

The layoffs are a direct product of the corporate drive toward monopoly, the rationalization of production and the slashing of labor costs in pursuit of ever greater profits.