San José, CA – On Friday, October 7 the U.S. Department of Labor released their report on new jobs and the unemployment rate in September. According to the Department of Labor, there were 263,000 more jobs in September than in August. This is the weakest job report since December of 2020.
It is a fact of historical materialism that the development of the productive forces reduces the amount of labor required by production. As technology and techniques improve, the amount of work required to meet human needs is reduced. This should be a fact that liberates humanity from toil, freeing us to pursue our interests, hobbies, goals of self-development, and so on.
San José, CA – On July 29, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released their report on Gross Domestic Product for the second quarter of the year, April to June. GDP went down at a 0.9% annual rate. This followed a decline of 1.6% in GDP in the first three months of the year.
Continuing claims hits highest number since November 2021
San José, CA – On Thursday, July 21, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of people collecting unemployment insurance benefits, increased by 51,000 for the week ending July 16. This brought the total number to 1,384,000, the highest since November 2021. New claims for unemployment insurance increased to 251,000, also the highest since November. The increase was only 7000 over the week before, but most economists had expected the number of new claims to fall.
Despite what bourgeois economists, the priests of property and profit, would have us believe, capitalism isn’t the eternal way of things. It had a beginning, and it will have an end. As we begin our discussion of political economy, let’s draw upon historical materialism to examine how capitalism arose.
San José, CA – Real earnings, or workers’ wages after adjusting for inflation, had their biggest drop in 40 years last month, as prices continued to rise faster than paychecks. Real average weekly earnings, which best reflect workers’ paychecks after adjusting for changes in wages, prices and hours worked, fell 1% in June of 2022 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last year, real average weekly earnings fell 3.9% as inflation outpaced pay raises and average weekly hours fell by almost an hour.
San José, CA – With Bitcoin now down 70% from its record price in April of 2021, businesses based on cryptocurrencies have started to fold. The latest victim was Celsius, a crypto “bank” which stopped withdrawals from its accounts on Sunday, June 12. Celsius had more than $20 billion in assets at its peak in August 2021, drawing investors with yields of more than 18%. But Celsius is looking more and more like a high-tech Ponzi scheme that only lasted as long as new investors kept buying in.
Working households struggle as wages don’t keep up
San José, CA – On Friday, June 10, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that prices for workers’ families, the so-called Consumer Price Index-Wage or CPI-W rose by 9.3% as compared to prices a year ago. This rate of inflation is near a 40-year high, only exceeded by the 9.4% increase in March. The last time that prices rose so quickly was in November of 1981.
San José, CA – On Monday, May 9, U.S. stock prices continued to fall, with the broadest index, the S&P 500, losing more than 3%. This is the biggest one-day drop in stock prices since the onset of COVID in the United States in early 2020. The S&P 500 has fallen 17% since hitting an all-time record high in late March. This is approaching the 20% drop that is labeled a “bear market.” Stock prices of high-tech companies have fallen even more, with the technology-heavy NASDAQ index already in bear market territory.
San José, CA – On Friday, April 22, U.S. stocks fell more than 2.5%, with the Dow Jones Industry Average, dropping almost 1000 points. This led to the third week of losses for U.S. stocks, as a combination of recession fears – based on slowing corporate sales and profits, combined with the reality of higher interest rates – influenced investors.