World economy

Spain ends confinement, moving to “new normal” as COVID-19 cases rise

By Alejandro López, 30 April 2020

On Tuesday evening, Sánchez outlined his government’s plan under the name “ Transition Plan to a New Normal.”

British Airways announces 12,000 redundancies amid global airline jobs massacre

By Thomas Scripps, 30 April 2020

The job losses will devastate tens of thousands and are a warning to workers of the economic “reconstruction” being prepared by the ruling elite in the wake of the pandemic.

Profits before human life: German parliament president Schäuble wins broad support in the establishment

By Peter Schwarz, 30 April 2020

The German ruling class is marking the 75th anniversary of Hitler’s suicide in the Führer bunker by discussing how many human lives should be sacrificed in the coronavirus crisis.

Millions of US workers blocked from applying for jobless benefits

By Kevin Reed, 29 April 2020

An Economic Policy Institute survey shows that the real number of unemployed workers in the US is far higher than the official 26.5 million who have filed unemployment claims.

Round two of the “Paycheck Protection Program”: Another disaster for US small businesses and their employees

By Barry Grey, 29 April 2020

The abortive start of the second round of the “small business” program demonstrated that the vast majority of small businesses and their employees will receive little or nothing in relief from the economic collapse.

Trump orders meatpacking workers back on the job as opposition mounts to back-to-work campaign

By Niles Niemuth, 29 April 2020

US President Donald Trump’s executive order invoking the Defense Production Act to force employees at meatpacking plants back to work marks a new stage in his administration’s confrontation with the working class.

Classical musicians, orchestras and opera companies confront COVID-19 lockdown

By Fred Mazelis, 29 April 2020

Freelance and younger musicians are especially hard hit by cancellations and shutdowns.

New York state’s economy spirals into the abyss under the effects of COVID-19

By Philip Guelpa, 28 April 2020

A new study projects that the economic impact to New York state of the pandemic will reach $243 billion and it will take three years until a “full recovery.”

The Great Wall Street Heist of 2020

By Joseph Kishore—SEP candidate for US president, 28 April 2020

2020 will go down not only as the year of the coronavirus pandemic but also as the year of the greatest act of thievery and plunder yet perpetrated by the corporate and financial oligarchy.

US billionaires increase wealth by $280 billion since March, as millions are unable to get unemployment benefits

By Gabriel Black, 27 April 2020

The wealth of the ultra-rich has surged since the March stock market slump, as the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic further concentrates the wealth of society.

The deadly return to work begins

By Marcus Day, 27 April 2020

From Georgia to Minnesota, US states are beginning to ease social distancing measures and reopen businesses this week, despite the growing death toll from COVID-19.

US unemployment up 26 million in five weeks

By Evan Blake, 24 April 2020

With an additional 4.4 million Americans filing for unemployment last week, a total of 26 million people have filed for unemployment over the past five weeks.

Thousands of jobs on the line after Virgin Australia goes into administration

By Terry Cook, 24 April 2020

The announcement by Virgin Australia, the country’s second largest domestic carrier, threatens at least 15,000 jobs.

“Back to work” campaign in the US will lead to surge in coronavirus deaths

By Joseph Kishore, 24 April 2020

The American ruling class is attempting to rapidly resume production and send workers back to work. If this policy is carried out, countless thousands more people will get gravely sick or die.

As US governors rush to reopen businesses, “Excess death” counts begin to reveal true toll of pandemic

By Bryan Dyne, 23 April 2020

A series of reports have shown that the real death toll from the coronavirus in many parts of the United States and Europe is likely at least twice what has been officially reported.

Oil price plunge continues

By Nick Beams, 22 April 2020

Trump has indicated government bailout measures for the industry may be forthcoming after his failed attempt to halt the price slide by having Russia and Saudi Arabia cut production.

Real jobless rate could reach 30 percent in Australia

By Mike Head, 22 April 2020

Low-paid workers are twice as likely to be thrown out of work as high-income people in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Grattan Institute.

Oil price contracts take historic plunge into negative territory

By Nick Beams, 21 April 2020

The price at the close of trading was -$37.63 compared with $18.36 a barrel on Friday—the first time oil prices have gone into negative territory.

US farm relief program hands billions to agribusiness while millions lack food

By Alex Findijs, 21 April 2020

The farm relief program will protect the profits of the ruling class, while farmers are dumping produce because the distribution chain has been disrupted.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of economic nationalism

By Nick Beams, 21 April 2020

The pandemic has made clear that the tiny minority of corporate and financial oligarchs, and the profit system over which they preside, stand as an obstacle to the rational organisation and scientific planning of the economy and society necessary to deal with the threat to human life.

Amazon workers in Italy strike over coronavirus cover-up

Worker resistance grows internationally as governments push premature return to work

By Shannon Jones, 18 April 2020

The reckless drive by the Trump administration and governments in Europe to resume production despite health warnings will produce a social explosion.

Chinese economy contracted by 6.8 percent in first quarter

By Nick Beams, 18 April 2020

The announcement of the plunge in China came just days after the IMF forecast that the world economy will experience a $9 trillion loss of output over 2020-21.

Bangladesh garment workers strike against COVID-19 job and wage cuts; Australian maritime union ends strike over COVID-19 at Hutchison Ports

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

18 April 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Steep fall in US economy and worse is to come

By Nick Beams, 16 April 2020

Any notion that there will be a rapid economic recovery once the immediate effects of the pandemic pass is being dispelled.

Unemployment already at Great Depression levels in Australia

By Mike Head, 16 April 2020

A record 3.92 million workers, or 27.4 percent, were either unemployed or under-employed by the end of March.

World economy to take biggest hit since Great Depression

By Nick Beams, 15 April 2020

The IMF’s “baseline scenario” is that the world economy will lose $9 trillion in 2020 and 2021, equivalent to the combined economic output of Germany and Japan.

With anger mounting over pandemic response, unions make pitch to save American capitalism

By Jerry White, 15 April 2020

In a joint comment published by USA Today, the leaders of four major unions urge corporate America to use their services to “restore profits and economic growth.”

Canada’s coronavirus wage-subsidy tailored to propping up business, not protecting workers’ incomes

By Roger Jordan, 14 April 2020

The trade unions and NDP have once again rallied to the support of the Trudeau government, whose response to the pandemic has focussed on bailing out the banks and big business so as to safeguard the wealth and investments of the capitalist elite.

European Union to spend half a trillion euros on imperialist interests in coronavirus bailout

By Peter Schwarz, 13 April 2020

After two days of bitter disputes, the EU finance ministers agreed on a coronavirus bailout worth €500 billion.

Last-minute deal on oil production cuts

By Nick Beams, 13 April 2020

The fear was that had an agreement not been reached the oil price would have crashed when trading opened today, after already dropping by 40 percent since the beginning of March.

African economies in free fall as coronavirus pandemic worsens

By Stephan McCoy, 11 April 2020

An African Union study predicts that some 20 million jobs are at risk in Africa due to the impact of the pandemic.

Wolves guard the hen house: Who is overseeing the $2 trillion stimulus package?

By Genevieve Leigh, 11 April 2020

The mechanisms established to manage stimulus money primarily exist to bail out the major corporations, further enrich the banks, and to secure Wall Street.

International Labour Organisation warns of massive job losses from COVID-19

By Nick Beams, 10 April 2020

According to the International Labour Organisation, the COVID-19 crisis is expected to wipe out 6.7 percent of total working hours globally in the second quarter of this year—equivalent to 195 million full-time workers.

Bailout of US corporations expands while workers see little relief

By Barry Grey, 9 April 2020

While billions have already flowed to the corporations and banks, the limited provisions of the bailout law touted as a boon to working people have yet to kick in, and for millions they likely never will.

Labor and the unions help push corporate bailout through Australian parliament

By Mike Head, 9 April 2020

The main thrust of the bills is to allow employers to cut wages, working hours and other working conditions.

US automakers planning return to work before coronavirus danger subsides

By Tom Hall and Jessica Goldstein, 8 April 2020

Automakers are planning a return to work that would endanger workers and their families.

Unions agree to salary furlough at British Airways

By Paul Bond, 8 April 2020

The Unite union claims it has secured BA’s agreement that no worker will be laid off without pay, and that there will be no redundancies, at least temporarily.

Sri Lanka: Billions to big business as government prepares new attacks on working people

By Saman Gunadasa, 8 April 2020

No meaningful government funds have been provided for personal protection equipment for health workers, ventilators for patients or kits for mass coronavirus testing.

Fiction, reality and the global crisis of capitalism

By Joseph Kishore and David North, 7 April 2020

As the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic mounted on Monday, a mood of uncontrollable euphoria prevailed among investors on Wall Street.

Share buybacks have been the “only net source of money entering the stock market” since 2008

By Nick Beams, 7 April 2020

A report published in the Wall Street Journal reveals that one of the main reasons for the cash shortage of major corporations, now lining up for a bailout, is the trillions of dollars they have spent on share buybacks to boost the fortunes of the ultra-wealthy.

US jobless numbers head toward Depression levels

By Nick Beams, 4 April 2020

The official March data, showing job losses of 701,000, are a significant underestimation since they are based on surveys conducted before widespread lockdowns were in place.

UK corporations scramble for coronavirus bailout funds

By Paul Bond, 4 April 2020

The £350 billion bailout is an unprecedented financial handout to UK corporations, conducted without even the rubber stamp of a parliamentary vote.

Canadian government’s bailout increases banks’ control over economy and state

By Roger Jordan, 4 April 2020

Canada’s Liberal government is funnelling hundreds of billions of dollars to the banks and major corporations to guarantee the wealth of the capitalist elite.

Banks set to make billions from stimulus measures

By Nick Beams, 3 April 2020

Banks, lobby groups, major legal firms and hedge funds are all striving to get their slice of the largest corporate and financial bailout in history.

For emergency action against the destruction of jobs! Full financial and social support for all working people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic!

By Joseph Kishore—Socialist Equality Party candidate for US president, 3 April 2020

All sections of the working class must be fully compensated for the economic consequences of the pandemic.

Stock market sell-off resumes

By Nick Beams, 2 April 2020

The renewed market downturn followed statements by President Trump that US deaths from the coronavirus could be 240,000 while hinting that the toll could be even higher.

Airlines, auto companies cut pay even as US government bails out corporations

By Shannon Jones, 1 April 2020

While prepared to pocket tens of billions of dollars in federal bailout money, US airlines and automakers are imposing pay cuts and furloughs on employees.

As Wall Street finishes worst quarter since 2008

Financial turbulence continues to grow

By Nick Beams, 1 April 2020

While COVID-19 was the trigger it was not the underlying cause, as the financial system was set to crash due to the dizzy rise of the markets divorced from the real economy.

Canada’s governments exempt sections of industry from lockdowns, imperilling workers’ lives

By Roger Jordan, 1 April 2020

Placing profits before workers’ lives, Ontario and Quebec have declared businesses “essential” that have nothing to do with providing healthcare, food, power or other life necessities.

Quebec tries to extort concessions from health care and other public sector workers

By Laurent Lafrance, 1 April 2020

By offering their “full cooperation” to the CAQ government during the coronavirus pandemic, the unions have opened the door for an intensified state attack on public sector workers.

COVID-19 pandemic leads to mass sackings in Australia

By Martin Scott, 1 April 2020

Unemployment is likely to rise above 15 percent as hundreds of thousands of workers lose their jobs.

As US cases of COVID-19 surpass all other countries

Trump’s “Get back to work” demagogy aids the spread of the pandemic

By Joseph Kishore, 27 March 2020

Amidst an expanding pandemic, which is still in its early stages, the Trump administration is intensifying its efforts to force a return to work, which would endanger the lives of millions of workers.

New US unemployment claims hit 3.28 million as pandemic produces economic catastrophe

By Shannon Jones, 27 March 2020

The number of new weekly claims for state unemployment benefits reached the staggering total of 3.28 million, an increase of 1,000 percent over the previous week, and the largest such total in history.

Wall Street rise continues as coronavirus infections accelerate

By Nick Beams, 27 March 2020

The extreme volatility of the markets is such that the Dow, having entered a bear market—defined as a fall of 20 percent—has now returned to bull market status, all in the space of just six weeks.

Bipartisan corporate bailout gives $17 billion to Boeing

By Bryan Dyne, 27 March 2020

The top executives who oversaw the cost-cutting, layoffs and cover-ups that resulted in two crashes and the deaths of 346 people are being rewarded with billions in taxpayer money.

US Senate passes massive economic “rescue” bill

By Patrick Martin, 26 March 2020

The $2 trillion bill allocates the bulk of its funds to loans and grants to corporations and businesses, with some emergency aid to workers.

German investor Dibelius: Big business must take priority over health care

By Peter Schwarz, 26 March 2020

It will only be a matter of days before Dibelius and his ilk will demand that workers who refuse to risk their health by going back to work should be forced to do so.

Wall Street surges on prospect of government corporate bailouts

By Nick Beams, 25 March 2020

Markets were also boosted by Trump’s push to have major lockdowns lifted regardless of the health consequences for the mass of the population.

Message from big business on coronavirus pandemic: Save profits, not lives

By Andre Damon, 24 March 2020

As the death toll from the coronavirus soars and hospitals fill up, the White House and the US media are insisting that the profits of the corporate-financial elite must take precedence over the lives of millions.

Germany: Appalling lack of protective equipment in COVID-19 outbreak

By Markus Salzmann, 24 March 2020

It is still virtually impossible to be tested for the life-threatening virus and there is a lack of protective marks and other urgently needed equipment for health care workers.

US Fed unveils further massive financial intervention

By Nick Beams, 24 March 2020

The central bank’s program of quantitative easing, involving the purchases of government bonds, is now virtually unlimited.

US Congress moves toward massive bailout of big business

By Patrick Martin, 24 March 2020

The wrangling between Democrats and Republicans in Washington is political theater to disguise the highway robbery being carried out by corporate America.

Michigan issues statewide lockdown, exempting auto industry as “critical infrastructure”

By Tom Hall, 24 March 2020

The order exempts “critical manufacturing” as defined by the federal Department of Homeland Security, setting the stage for a return to work in the plants weeks before the lockdown order expires.

Boeing closes Seattle-area plants after worker’s coronavirus death

By Hector Cordon, 24 March 2020

Two weeks after the first emergence of a coronavirus infection in its Everett, Washington, plant, Boeing has shut down production in the region.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ message to warehouse workers: Keep working despite coronavirus threat

By Nick Barrickman, 24 March 2020

After strikes by US and European Amazon workers over the danger to their health, the company’s billionaire CEO feigned concern while insisting that workers keep pumping out profits.

Under pressure from online protests over coronavirus concerns, GameStop shutters California stores

By Luke Galvin, 24 March 2020

The half-measure concessions, which went into effect Sunday, also included keeping stores in the rest of the United States operating with “delivery-to-door” service.

Risk of wider outbreak of COVID-19 remains high in South Korea

By Ben McGrath, 24 March 2020

Workers are being kept on the job, exposing themselves and their communities to greater risks.

180 Airlines and coronavirus

24 March 2020

Australia: Coronavirus cancellations decimate live performance industry

By Martin Scott, 24 March 2020

Tens of thousands of performers are facing an indeterminate period without work.

Mexican medical workers protest lack of supplies

Workers Struggles: The Americas

24 March 2020

Medical workers in a number of cities in Mexico have staged protests over the lack of critical supplies needed to treat patients and protect doctors and nurses.

Global economic slump accelerating

By Nick Beams, 23 March 2020

Just as the coronavirus and its health impacts were severely underestimated, so were its effects on the economy.

Market slide resumes in worst week for Wall Street since 2008

By Nick Beams, 21 March 2020

Beyond the precipitous fall in share prices, the crisis has been transmitted into all corners of the financial markets, leaving no asset class exempt.

While dumping their stock, US senators misled the public on coronavirus crisis

By Jacob Crosse, 21 March 2020

After receiving classified intelligence briefings, at least four US senators sold millions of dollars worth of stock while downplaying the severity of the virus to the public.

Massive social disaster looms as worldwide job losses from coronavirus pandemic expected to reach 25 million

By Jerry White, 20 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is now metastasizing into an immense economic and social crisis.

Stock markets hold steady but global dollar shortage looms

By Nick Beams, 20 March 2020

Major interventions by the world’s central banks have come in response to the passage of financial markets into a kind of through-the-looking-glass world in which everything is reversed.

Markets plunge again in rush to cash

By Nick Beams, 19 March 2020

Measures taken by central banks have failed to quell the market turmoil with calls for even greater quantitative easing.

As US Fed seeks to rescue financial markets and corporations demand bailouts

Workers hit by job losses and pay cuts

By Nick Beams, 18 March 2020

The US job losses are certain to be replicated in other major economies around the world as lockdowns extend.

As lockdowns mount over COVID-19 worldwide, WHO pleads for more testing

By Bryan Dyne, 17 March 2020

President Trump admitted Monday that the coronavirus pandemic may not be contained in the US until at least July.

Despite massive Fed intervention, market plunge continues

By Nick Beams, 17 March 2020

The theme of all the comments from financial analysts was that action by central banks could do nothing to halt the downward spiral.

Temporary work stoppage at Fiat Chrysler’s Warren Truck plant as wildcat strikes spread in global auto industry

By Jerry White, 17 March 2020

Actions against continued production during the coronavirus pandemic have spread from Italy to Spain, Canada and now the United States.

Spain deploys army to impose coronavirus lockdown

By Alejandro López, 17 March 2020

Spain has registered more than 9,191 infections, becoming the second country after Italy with most new infections.

The impact of the coronavirus crisis in Florence

By our reporter, 17 March 2020

The inadequacies are largely due to the constant cuts that have been made to the national health system over the last two-three decades, under every government, whether center-right or center-left.

Canadian workers launch work-safety job actions amid rapid spread of coronavirus

By Carl Bronski, 17 March 2020

While workers are being forced by employers in the private and public sectors to labour under dangerous and unsafe working conditions, the Trudeau government is moving to provide the financial and corporate oligarchy unlimited financial assistance.

Amid coronavirus pandemic Nevada gaming commission announces “no plans” to close casinos

By Jacob Crosse, 17 March 2020

Regulators in just six US states—Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and Massachusetts—have ordered casinos shut down in a criminally belated attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Uruguayan teachers strike; Saskatchewan teachers begin job action

Workers Struggles: The Americas

17 March 2020

Teachers in Uruguay staged a one-day strike March 11 over the government’s economic proposal, while 13,000 teachers across Saskatchewan began rotating jobs actions.

As credit markets start to freeze

US Fed slashes rates to zero and returns to “quantitative easing”

By Nick Beams, 16 March 2020

In an indication of the global dimensions of the financial crisis, the Fed lowered the cost of dollars available to five other central banks via international swap lines.

Cruise ship industry announces worldwide shutdown in response to coronavirus pandemic, leaving ship workers in the lurch

By Tom Casey, 16 March 2020

While directives for employees have been changing rapidly, it’s evident that the cruise ship giants will attempt to impose their losses on the backs of their workforce.

Turbulent week on Wall Street ends with market surge

By Nick Beams, 14 March 2020

Even with yesterday’s surge, the Dow has lost around 15 percent this week with Wall Street Journal noting it was “one of the worst in history.”

Global auto industry in downward spiral as coronavirus spreads worldwide

By Jessica Goldstein, 14 March 2020

Even prior to the outbreak, automakers had announced hundreds of thousands of layoffs and many plant closures.

Anger erupts as Art Van Furniture liquidation sales begin

By Kevin Reed, 14 March 2020

Workers and customers reacted with anger to the closure and liquidation of Detroit-area Art Van Furniture as further details emerged about the financial condition of the company in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing over the weekend.

Stock markets plunge in biggest fall since October 1987 crash

By Nick Beams, 13 March 2020

The stock market plunge is generating a crisis in the entire financial system.

Wall Street sell-off resumes as Dow enters bear market territory

By Nick Beams, 12 March 2020

Markets are set to plunge further today following US President Trump’s virulently nationalist address yesterday evening in which he labelled the coronavirus as a “foreign virus.”

Market turbulence continues in day of swings

By Nick Beams, 11 March 2020

The main factor behind the Wall Street rise appears to have been the announcement of a “major” US economic relief package, prompting the belief there are profits to be made out of such measures.

Markets plunge in worst fall since 2008 crisis

By Nick Beams, 10 March 2020

While the collapse in oil prices triggered the sell-off, the underlying cause lies in the complete divorce of share market valuations from the underlying real economy.

Prison riots erupt as Rome extends coronavirus lockdown to all of Italy

By Alex Lantier, 10 March 2020

Inmates’ families protested outside prisons against the authorities’ refusal to release prisoners or provide them with protection from contagion inside overcrowded prisons.

The coronavirus pandemic and the failure of capitalism

By Andre Damon and David North, 10 March 2020

The crisis produced by the coronavirus pandemic has delivered a powerful message: the capitalist system and the needs of society are fundamentally incompatible.

Renewed protests in Chile; Michigan delivery drivers strike over healthcare

Workers Struggles: The Americas

10 March 2020

Thousands participated against austerity, inequality and repression in Chile while Teamster delivery drivers manned pickets in Monroe, Michigan

Oil price war set to trigger new financial storms

By Nick Beams, 9 March 2020

Trading this week began with a fall in the price of Brent crude from $45 a barrel to $31.52, one of the biggest single-day falls in its history.

Another downward swing on Wall Street

By Nick Beams, 6 March 2020

The gyrations in global stock markets have focused attention on underlying trends that are creating the conditions for another financial crisis on the scale of 2008 or even larger.

The number of ultrawealthy individuals is growing dramatically on a world scale

By Kevin Reed, 6 March 2020

A new report by the consulting firm Knight Frank shows that the number of super-wealthy people in the world—those with more than $30 million in assets—is projected to increase by 27 percent over the next five years.