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News : US Economy Last Updated: Mar 31, 2014 - 6:16 AM


US corporate profits rise to record in 2013; Real wages flat at Zero
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Mar 28, 2014 - 2:27 AM

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US corporate profits rose to a new record last year, as firms restrict hiring and build up cash rather than spend on investments, almost five years since the economic recovery began in mid 2009. Meanwhile, in 2013 real (inflation adjusted) average hourly earnings were flat with a zero change.

After-tax corporate profits rose to $1.9tn in 2013, the  Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said Thursday. Corporate profits were at a record ratio of 11.1% of gross domestic product.

The BEA said that corporate profits rose 4.6% at an annual rate, compared with 7.0% in 2012. Profits of nonfinancial corporations rose 5.2%, profits of financial corporations rose 8.2%, and profits from the rest of the world fell 0.7%.

The 6% increase in corporate profits from the same period a year earlier comfortably outpaced GDP growth of 4.1% before adjusting for inflation.

Taxes on corporate income fell $15.9bn in 2013, in contrast to an increase of $60.6bn in 2012.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last January that real average hourly earnings rose 0.2%, seasonally adjusted, from December 2012 to December 2013. The increase in real average hourly earnings, combined with a 0.3% decrease in the average workweek, resulted in no net change in real average weekly earnings over this period.

Also on Thursday, CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. said that temporary employment has accelerated since the last recession, and new data shows that an upward trajectory will continue throughout 2014. More than 2.9m US workers were employed in temporary jobs in 2013, jumping 28% since 2010 and outpacing the 5% growth rate for all jobs.

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