US Economy

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.

“Positive” US jobs report belied by mass layoffs

By Josh Varlin, 7 November 2015

While the US economy added more jobs in October than in previous months, the great majority of new jobs were in low-wage sectors of the economy.

Fed chair says rate hike in December a “live possibility”

By Barry Grey, 5 November 2015

The Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee demonstrated their subservience to the banks by arguing against any increase in interest rates until 2016 at the earliest.

Global markets cheer dismal economic figures

By Andre Damon, 3 November 2015

Global stock markets are surging as negative economic news makes interest rate cuts by central banks more likely.

Chevron to lay off 7,000 workers

Mass layoffs in US point to deepening slump

By Tom Hall, 31 October 2015

Friday's announcement by Chevron was in response to the continuing slump in oil prices, due in large part to falling demand.

Half of US workers make less than $30,000 per year

By David Brown, 29 October 2015

The decades-long stagnation of wages in the US has left millions of workers unable to start a family or buy a house.

Holding rates near zero, Fed keeps option of a hike in December

By Barry Grey, 29 October 2015

The Fed has come under enormous pressure to abandon its stated intention, declared last year, to begin gradually raising interest rates in 2015 for the first time in nine years.

Ford third-quarter profits double

By Jerry White, 27 October 2015

With the auto companies, the corporate media and the UAW warning workers not to make “unrealistic” demands, Ford and GM have raked in billions in profits in North America.

West Virginia counties, school districts make drastic cuts as coal industry contracts

By Naomi Spencer, 27 October 2015

Local governments and schools across West Virginia are making deep reductions as the coal industry continues to contract and the state imposes a fresh round of cuts.

Collapse of West Virginia coal industry spurs growing inequality

By Naomi Spencer, 26 October 2015

As the coal industry has hemorrhaged jobs, state and local social services have been slashed and inequality has soared.

Pennsylvania budget impasse adversely affects social services, schools

By Douglas Lyons, 20 October 2015

With state funding cut back, some schools and non-profits have had to scale back or fully eliminate programs and lay off workers.

Walmart downgrade reflects depth of social crisis facing US workers

By Barry Grey, 15 October 2015

Walmart’s financial problems are above all a reflection of the devastating impact of years of wage-cutting and austerity on the company’s largely working class clientele.

US Supreme Court dismisses challenge to ruling undermining insider trading prosecutions

By Gabriel Black, 13 October 2015

The Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to a recent ruling making the enforcement of insider trading laws virtually impossible.

Perplexity and gloom dominate IMF-World Bank meeting

By Nick Beams, 12 October 2015

A report issued on the eve of the IMF-World Bank meeting said that emerging market economies had over-borrowed by $3 trillion over the past decade.

The government-union conspiracy to raid US workers’ pensions

By Andre Damon, 10 October 2015

The Obama administration, Wall Street, major corporations and the trade unions have conspired to slash hundreds of billions of dollars from multi-employer pension funds.

Markets “celebrate” poor US jobs data

By Nick Beams, 6 October 2015

Like players in a gambling casino given free chips by the house, financial investors boosted share prices on the prospect that interest rises in the US are off the table for this year.

US jobs data underscore downbeat IMF assessment of world economy

By Nick Beams, 3 October 2015

The recessionary trends and falling commodity prices gripping the global economy are having a growing impact on the United States.

Wealth of America’s super-rich grows to $2.34 trillion

By Nick Barrickman, 3 October 2015

The total net worth for the multi-billionaires on the list set new records, displacing last year’s all-time high of $2.29 trillion.

Global recessionary trends intensify

By Nick Beams, 1 October 2015

The crisis of mining giant Glencore, whose shares plunged by 30 percent this week, is only one expression of the slump gripping the global economy.

Fed chief points to rate rise this year

By Nick Beams, 25 September 2015

The speech by US Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen Thursday sought to counter criticisms of the decision last week to keep interest rates on hold.

China, emerging economies and commodities roil financial markets

By Barry Grey, 24 September 2015

The very economies that were hailed as the engines of global growth following the Wall Street crash of September 2008 are now at the forefront of a deflationary crisis that threatens to plunge the world into a full-scale depression.

Fed decision fails to calm markets

By Nick Beams, 22 September 2015

Divisions have emerged in financial circles over the Fed’s decision not to lift interest rates, highlighting the absence of any coherent policy on the part of those in charge of the financial system.

US poverty rate and income growth stagnated in 2014

By Niles Williamson, 19 September 2015

The US Census Bureau reported this week that staggering levels of poverty remained unchanged between 2013 and 2014 as median household income held steady.

Citing global economy, Fed keeps rates near zero

By Barry Grey, 18 September 2015

Exuberance over the decision to delay a rate hike was tempered by concerns over the state of the global economy and financial system as reflected in the Fed statement.