Non-financial corporate profits in the United States hit a record high during the second quarter of 2022, amounting to two trillion dollars according to an August 2022 article by Jake Johnson for Common Dreams. These profits are up 8.1 percent from the same period in 2021, and 6.1 percent from the first quarter of 2022, making them the highest they’ve been since at least 1950. Concurrently, inflation is the highest it has been in forty years. According to Rakeen Mabud, chief economist at the Groundwork Collective, “astronomical corporate profits confirm what corporate executives have been telling us on earning calls over and over again: They’re making a lot of money by charging people more, and they don’t plan on bringing prices down anytime soon.”
Record profits in the fossil fuel have been particularly obscene. As Jessica Corbett reported for Common Dreams in July 2022, the eight largest oil companies’ profits spiked 235 percent between the second quarter of 2021 and the second quarter of 2022, according to analysis by Acountable.US. Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Hess Corp, Phillips 66, Shell, and TechnipFMC Cole’s collectively profited $52 billion in the second quarter of 2022. Notably, Chevron profited $11.62 billion, Exxon profited $17.85 billion, and Shell profited $11.47 billion. In the United States, the oil industry spent over $200 million on lobbying in the first and second quarter of 2022.
Corporate media outlet Bloomberg partially reported on this story, stating that “a measure of US profit margins has reached its widest since 1950,” but its report did not mention the two trillion dollar figure.
Jake Johnson, “‘All of Us Are Paying the Price’ as Corporate Profits Surge to Record-High $2 Trillion,” Common Dreams, August 26, 2022; republished as “Corporate Profits Surge to an All-Time High of $2 Trillion,” Truthout, August 26, 2022.
Jessica Corbett, “Price Gouging at the Pump Results in 235% Profit Jump for Big Oil: Analysis,” Common Dreams, July 29, 2022.
Student Researcher: Annie Koruga (Ohlone College)
Faculty Advisor: Robin Takahashi (Ohlone College)
Editor’s note: For prior Project Censored coverage on comparable corporate profits in the food industry, see Corporate Consolidation Causing Record Inflation in Food Prices, Story #6 from State of the Free Press 2023.