3. U.S. Corporations, Flush With Profit, Could Not Possibly Hire More Workers
Residents of Main Street may have more trouble digesting Wall Street's corporate prosperity than their gargantuan Thanksgiving meals: According to a Commerce Department report this week, American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track more than 60 years ago.
On one hand, this is great -- and somewhat surprising, given how often we've heard from political partisans that President Barack Obama is "the most anti-business president in history." On the other hand, the Federal Reserve released new projections this week indicating that unemployment will be rearing its ugly head for a long time to come. The Fed is now estimating that more than 10 million Americans will remain jobless through the 2012 elections. The current 9.6% national unemployment rate will only fall to 9% by the end of 2011, and 8% by the time the next presidential election is taking place.
Regardless, U.S. companies have many things to be thankful for this holiday weekend: Thanks to the tireless efforts of the increasingly strained U.S. worker, companies are seeing record productivity gains. The record corporate profits have also led to the biggest year in stock-repurchase activity by U.S. corporations since the financial meltdown, buoying share prices.