What's more, business-investment indicators are falling significantly. Business investment is the key source of decent-paying, middle-class-wage-earning jobs. Because business investment has slumped (it never really recovered), various measures of middle-class take-home pay remain below peak levels.
And the business-investment picture may worsen as the broadest measures of corporate profits, which have been flat for two years, are now dropping.
Profits are the mother's milk of stocks and the lifeblood of the economy. But productivity (output per hour) is stagnant, even as compensation has slightly increased. Therefore, unit labor costs that businesses pay are growing faster than the prices businesses receive. So profit margins are turning negative.
Even this tepid, 2 percent, so-called recovery may be running out of steam.
The long-term slump in business investment is one of the key factors behind the slowdown in productivity, which is so important to growth, jobs, and wages. And Congress still has not moved to slash the prohibitively high corporate tax rate, which is holding back all manner of activity and forcing cash and firms to move offshore.
That, plus overregulation and a steady flow of anti-business rhetoric from the White House, is blocking the creation of new capital, which is so vital to productivity.
If you penalize businesses, forget about good jobs and rising incomes.