Posts Tagged ‘recession’

Record Corporate Profits Are Not Lowering Unemployment Rate

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2011 at 6:00 am

U.S. corporations are making record profits quarter after quarter, yet unemployment seems to be stuck at a devastatingly high rate. Why aren’t these financially flush big businesses hiring?

I’ve been writing a string of blogs about how tax debts are dealt with in bankruptcy, and I’ll get back to that after today. But this is the time of year when the nation’s major corporations report their 3rd quarter profits, and so I found myself scratching my head about the disconnect between their huge profits and their lack of hiring. So I read a number of news stories and editorials, and this is what I got out of them:

1.  Big businesses have gotten to be more “productive,” in the sense of producing more goods and services with less labor. That has happened partly through investments in labor-saving technology and partly by requiring employees to work harder and faster for the same pay. With the cut-throat labor market, companies don’t need to increase salaries to retain or replace their employees.

2.  Profits have increased because a larger percentage of sales for large U.S. corporations have been overseas. Around 40 per cent of their profits are from foreign sales. For many companies, sales are growing modestly in the U.S. while growing much faster elsewhere, especially in the “emerging markets” of China, India, and South America.

3.  Relatively strong overseas sales come with job growth overseas instead of here. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, in the past decade, U.S.-based multi-national corporations added 2.4 million jobs outside the country while cutting 2.4 million jobs here. Jobs naturally grow where sales are growing–someone has to take customer orders at the 3,000+ KFCs in China! But of course there’s also increased foreign outsourcing of work that used to be done here, from manufacturing to computer programming.

4. Normally when businesses are more productive, resulting in more profits, they tend to expand, thus creating more employment opportunities. But this has not been happening for three reasons.

a. With the double-whammy of very high unemployment and loss of home values, U.S. consumers either don’t have the means or the attitude to spend money, so companies are leery about expanding to increase production.

b. The international business environment—particularly the European sovereign debt crises in Greece, Italy and elsewhere—is making big business cautious.

c. Political gridlock in Washington, D.C. makes business planning very difficult. With the Congressional deficit-reduction “super committee” scheduled to issue its report very shortly, big businesses have been sitting tight to see if this “super committee” will come up with its momentous compromise, and what it’ll consist of.

The bottom line: big businesses don’t need to hire to produce the goods and services they are producing, at least within the U.S., and they don’t want to expand and hire here because of lackluster consumer demand and high uncertainty in the world economy and in domestic politics.

– Patrick J. Conway, attorney.

Falling Income

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

Household incomes are shrinking. Over the last two years average income dropped more than 6 percent. The median income now stands at $49,909. If you look at income since the start of the recession in 2007, income has dropped nearly 10 percent. That is the largest drop in income in several decades.

The reason wages are falling? People who lost jobs during the recession have taken pay cuts in order to get hired again. They average 17 percent less income in their new jobs.

News on the job front is not much better. Unemployment remains over 9 percent. The average time a person remains unemployed averages 40 weeks, the longest in more than 60 years.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, you are not alone. Bankruptcy offers protection of your wages and assets from creditors. Give me a call if you need help.

The Recession May Be Over But Where Is The Recovery?

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2010 at 9:37 am

The recssion of 2007-2009 is officially over. It was the longest recession in 50 years. The economy lost more jobs during this recession than during any other recession since the depression. Unemployment is at its highest level since World War II, if you include people working part-time who wish to work full-time and those who have given up looking for work.

But for many people the recovery has not started. The enconomy has lost more jobs than it has added since June 2009 when the recovery began. And the outlook for job creation remains bleak. Many economists estimate that job growth seems likely to stagnate or grow worse in the near future.

People’s need for protection from creditors has never been greater. Loss of income remains the biggest reason for people to file for bankruptcy protection.