|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Profits that plummeted in the recession have bounced back. Big businesses have recovered almost 90 percent of what they lost.
So with all this money and profit, they’ll start hiring again, right? Wrong – for three reasons.
First, lots of their profits are coming from their overseas operations. So that’s where they’re investing and expanding production.
GM now sells more cars in China than it does in the US, but makes most of them there. The company now employs 32,000 hourly workers in China. But only 52,000 GM hourly workers remain in the United States – down from 468,000 in 1970.
GM isn’t just hiring low-tech assembly workers in China. Last week the firm broke ground there on a $250 million advanced technology center to develop batteries and other alternative energy sources.
You and I and other American taxpayers still own over 60 percent of GM. We bought GM to save GM jobs, remember?
GM officials say no American taxpayer money is being used to expand in China. But money is fungible. Because of our generosity, GM can now use the dollars it doesn’t have to spend in the United States meeting its American payrolls and repaying its creditors, for new investments in China.
Second, big U.S. businesses are investing their cash in labor-saving technologies. This boosts their productivity, but not their payrolls.
Bottom line: Higher corporate profits no longer lead to higher employment. We’re witnessing a great decoupling of company profits from jobs.
The next supply-side economist who tells you companies need more incentive (i.e. lower taxes) before they’ll hire is living on another planet.
The reality is this: Big American companies may never rehire large numbers of workers. And they won’t even begin to think about hiring until they know American consumers will buy their products. The problem is, American consumers won’t start buying against until they know they have reliable paychecks.
Labels: economic death watch