Chart of the Day: Corporate Profits Under Threat From Skyrocketing Wages

Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal:

Rising wages are beginning to eat into the profits of some U.S. companies. Businesses from dollar stores to hotel operators to fast-food chains have warned in recent months that higher labor costs have been a drag on their profits—a potential headwind for the nine-year stock-market rally as it struggles for momentum ahead of the second-quarter earnings season.

Today in the Wall Street Journal:

Corporate earnings are poised to extend a run of double-digit growth in the second quarter, providing a balm for a stock market that has languished as investors have grappled with threats ranging from fractious trade relations to tightening monetary policy. Analysts expect earnings from S&P 500 companies to grow 20% in the second quarter from the year-earlier period, according to FactSet

And just for the record, here is wage growth over the past few years:

The markers show inflation-adjusted hourly wages in May 2017 and May 2018. As you can see, wages have skyrocketed over the past year. Clearly something must be done about this grave threat to corporate America’s 20 percent profit growth.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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