The recovery has been much swifter, and much more sustained, on the corporate side. They’re not just nearing normal. They’ve left normal in the dust. Yesterday, Fortune magazine released its annual Fortune 500 list. Their press release came armed with a remarkable statistic: “The combined profits of the Fortune 500 increased by 81% — $318 billion — this year, the third largest percentage gain in the list’s history.” Compare that to the unemployment rate, which fell by just 8 percent over the past 12 months.
It’s not just tempting to say that the recovery has been good for firms and bad for people. It’s true. When Gallup polled Americans making less than $30,000, almost half thought we were in a depression and another 19 percent thought we were in a recession. Only 21 percent thought we were growing. As for people making more than $30,000, about a quarter thought we were in a depression and another 30 percent thought we were in a recession. Fewer than a third said we were growing. The economy, by the way, is growing. It’s been growing for two years now. But for most people, it’s not getting better.