With around 3,000 people dying every day due to corona-virus and 800,000 people filing unemployment claims weekly, the stock market is reaching levels reminiscent of the markets in 2000, highlighting the unpredictability of our economy.
A data table from the National Income and Product Accounts website says that despite the fact that the number of jobs employers reported having on payroll was down 6.1 percent in comparison to November of 2020, total employee compensation was down a mere 0.5 percent comparatively. This is because people in lower-paying service jobs have been disproportionately affected while sectors such as grocery stores have been booming, which allows for higher incomes for those workers. So, in spite of mass unemployment, only $43 billion has dropped in nine months. Also, due to the financial relief efforts this year, Americans’ cumulative after-tax personal income was $1.03 trillion higher from March to November of 2020 than in 2019, an increase of more than 8 percent. In addition, despite the 60 billion dollar rise in durable goods and 39 billion dollar rise in nondurable goods, Americans spent 535 billion dollars less than ten years before.
The soaring personal income coupled with the decreased spending, personal savings in March to November was $1.56 trillion higher than in 2019, a rise of 173 percent. It even spiked to 33.7 percent in April, unheard of since 1959. These savings were then either invested into stocks, held onto, or deposited. The circulation of currency increased 14 percent since February, and deposits into commercial banks have increased by 19 percent since the beginning of March. Home sales also greatly increased. S&P CoreLogic national home price index was up 8.4 percent in October from the year before. Everyone who has avoided the financial ruin that so many Americans have faced during the unprecedented year has raised all financial assets which have allowed for our markets to remain somewhat intact. This is an unfortunate reflection of the United States’ focus on the wealthy few. Despite the fact that we are in an unemployment crisis, with millions of people struggling to survive, the affluent Americans are keeping the market afloat and therefore suppress the voices of the working class.