Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Another image of labor’s broken back: $48,887 in profit per employee!

This article via Yahoo news caught my attention: Five years into recovery, Dow Companies squeeze workers as investors thrive

I think this picture spells it out rather well.

 

Profit per employee

“As the chart shows, the 30 huge companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average have barely nudged their employee ranks higher…”

But this is even more astounding:

Over the past five years, total profits of the current Dow 30 members surged by more than 42% through the end of 2014, to nearly $320 billion. This has driven the average annual profit per employee up by more than 34% since 2009, to $48,887.

According to this CNN article from August, the median household income is $53,891.    That means these 30 companies are pocketing 90% of what an household earns.  That’s out the door, cash in the pocket 90% of what a household works all year to earn.  Now, I’m not sure, but I think that household income is pretax and I doubt they get to hid that $53,891 in some account out of reach of the tax man.  In fact, I’ll bet that household needs every bit of that money just to get through the year.

Well, the 30 are not hiding all of it:

Dividends paid by the Dow 30 are up better than 30% the past five years, according to FactSet.

Read the article.  The author does his best to explain this situation, but it’s seem more like excuses.  A grasping at straws to dismiss what we know has been an intentional drive to get to this point.  My interpretation of it is that these companies are now able to “grow” the pot of money without actually having to increase their sales.  True money from money… but, they are scared that this magic will leave them and then what?

$48,887 PROFIT PER EMPLOYEE!

 

 

Tags: , , , , Comments (11) | |

Wages driven down, now relative to market you’re over paid!

Update: spelling corrected in title.

I heard and then went to look see that Caterpillar is working hard to control it’s costs.

“Despite earning a record $4.9 billion profit last year and projecting even better results for 2012, the company is insisting on a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze for most of the 780 production workers at its factory here. Caterpillar says it needs to keep its labor costs down to ensure its future competitiveness.” 

It has purchased 17 other business since 2008, 9 were non US companies. Two companies were purchased in 2011. Here’s the thing, a 6 year freeze? I guess there will be no inflation? I mean like zero. Though economist are saying inflation is needed as part of the solution to our slow economy. Of course, Obama having frozen government wages, I guess Caterpillar is just being patriotic. Nothing like We the People blazing the trail for how we want the private sector to treat We the People.

Caterpillar made $4.9 billion profit. If they raised these people’s pay $10,000 each, your only talking $7.8 million. It is 0.159% (0.00159)of Caterpillar’s profit. Inflation has averaged since 2008 about 2.075%.  Giving the worker $10,000 more per year does not equal the inflation rate as a share of the profit. If the worker were getting their due based on inflation they would get a piece of $101,675,000. This would be $130,352.56 each for the 780 workers. Caterpillar would still have $4,798,325,000.00 profit. Imagine what that $130,352.56 would do for the economy in Joliet! I’ll bet Caterpillar equipment sales would rise do to demand for construction.

Tags: , , , , , Comments (8) | |

Paying better wages and profit sharing another way to success?

Higher Wages, Profit Sharing and Greater Flexibility Benefit All Employees — And the Company Bottom Line Too
(link repaired)

Costco is so certain that its policy is sound that it has kept paying better wages than rivals, even as Wall Street has pressured the company to conform to industry standards.

As the economy slowly recovers, it’s no secret that companies would like to boost productivity and profits. Many think the best way to do so is to slash costs. As an entrepreneur and business owner, though, I’d like to suggest another idea: Pay your employees more.

That’s not as crazy as it sounds. A growing body of evidence is revealing that companies that pay fair wages, and offer flexibility and training to even entry-level and lower-skilled employees, do better than those that don’t. A vast number of businesses mistakenly assume that their lowest-wage workers are easily replaced or not worth investing in, but those that do the right thing soon find that they’re doing the right thing for their bottom lines. It’s time that this becomes a business norm.

Tags: , , Comments (13) | |

Productivity Growth

By Spencer,

Third quarter nonfarm productivity rose at a 9.5% annual rate as output rose 4.0% and hours worked fell at a 5.0% rate. Historically, productivity has been a very good leading indicator of real GDP growth lagged two quarters.

Productivity is also highly cyclical and the first year of a recovery typically experiences the strongest productivity growth.

Compensation jumped to a 3.8% annual rate, but on a year over year basis it is only up 0.5%.
Consequently, the year over year change in unit labor cost was -5.2%, the largest drop in recent years. With productivity growth this strong and such weak compensation growth it is hard to see how anyone can be seriously concerned about a resurgence of inflation. Except for oil, even surging commodity prices would not have a significant impact on the overall price level since they account for such a small share of final prices. Moreover, since potential GDP is a function of productivity growth and labor force growth the argument that the very large GDP gap is overstated does not seem to hold much weight as long as productivity growth is so strong.


I also updated the chart on Labor’s Share to show that this trend is actually accelerating.

Tags: , , Comments (0) | |