Graph of the Week: Profits Without Jobs

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It's a striking image. Corporations rode a roller coaster through the recession, but overall profits have done nothing but climb since Obama's inauguration. Jobs have gone nowhere but down. A few takeaways from our graph of the week:

1) When recessions bite, one should expect companies to cut jobs quickly to restore bottom lines. So it makes sense for profits to recover faster than jobs. Jobs are, after all, an expense that weighs on profits. But that jobs continued falling after a sharp, 16-month increase in profits is notable. That's why I think it's fair to say that ....

2) ... You're looking at our jobless recovery here. Profits grow and grow, cash piles up ($1.8 trillion of it) but nervous companies hold back on hiring because they're not sure their profit margins are sustainable going forward -- whether due to weak demand or jitters about taxes and regulation.

3) Much of this growth in profits is coming from the financial sector, which experienced a terrible crash and swift rebound in profits starting in mid-2009. You can expect financial companies to lead corporate profits out of the doldrums, but Wall Street doesn't have enough offices to make much of a dent in the unemployment rate.