Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Speed-up crashes the recovery

This didn't get nearly enough attention yesterday. MoJo zeros in on what's driving corporate profits.
"In all the chatter about our "jobless recovery," how often does someone explain the simple feat by which this is actually accomplished? US productivity increased twice as fast in 2009 as it had in 2008, and twice as fast again in 2010: workforce down, output up, and voilá! No wonder corporate profits are up 22 percent since 2007, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. To repeat: Up. Twenty-two. Percent."
And why aren't corporations hiring?
...[I]ncreasingly, US workers are also falling prey to what we'll call offloading: cutting jobs and dumping the work onto the remaining staff. Consider a recent Wall Street Journal story about "superjobs," a nifty euphemism for employees doing more than one job's worth of work—more than half of all workers surveyed said their jobs had expanded, usually without a raise or bonus."
What's their incentive? As long as unemployment remains high, they can blackmail their remaining employees into doing the work of two people and get them to take benefit cuts besides. Because -- you know -- lucky to have a job. Most of the corporations don't need American consumers to make their profit margin anymore. The executive class is back to getting big salaries and hefty bonuses, so it's all good. For them.

I'm so old, I remember when owners were concerned about their workers' well being, appreciated that it was a team effort and shared the wealth. Even big companies. Those days are long gone.
Productivity has surged, but income and wages have stagnated for most Americans. If the median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be nearly $92,000, not $50,000."
When we allowed the corporate conglomerates to become "too big to fail" they also became too big to care.

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