Hourly Wages See Sharpest Drop Since at Least 1947; Bank Profits Hit Record High

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Now is a great time to be a bank executive or board member. If you’re an ordinary American worker, well, life definitely could be better.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this month that wages in the U.S. declined 4.3% during the first quarter of this year. The drop was the steepest on record, going back to 1947.


But the first three months of 2013 were fantastic for banks, which posted a record $40.3-billion profit, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.


Driving this financial surge, according to Jim Puzzanghera of The Los Angeles Times, has been revenue the banks have received from legal settlements, and a substantial reduction in loan losses, which meant a reduced need to set aside funds to cover bad loans.


The first-quarter profit bested the previous record set more than six years ago, before the financial crisis and Great Recession.


Additionally, only four of the nation's 7,000 FDIC-insured banks failed during this time period, which is the lowest quarterly figure for bank failures since 2008.


“What it all adds up to, of course: it is a very good time and a very good country to be a plutocrat, because the rich are getting richer at a staggering rate and poor people are actually getting poorer, just like the saying goes,” William K. Black, who teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri - Kansas City, told The Real News.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Productivity and Costs - First Quarter 2013, Revised (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Banks Post Record $40.3-Billion Profit in First Quarter, FDIC says (by Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times)

Bank Profits Soar, Wages Suffer Sharpest Decline in 60 Years (Real News Network)

Real Wages Slowly Rise…to 2005 Level (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)  

Bank Profits Hit 5-Year High (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Corporate Profits Rise…but Wages Fail to keep Pace with Inflation (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)    

Recession Recovery Boosted Profits … but Not Wages (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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