At Least the Big Banks Are Kickin' It...

By:  Jared Bernstein

I just read that Goldman Sachs posted a profit of $2.2 billion in the first quarter, "... driven by strength in its investment banking business as well as its investing and lending unit."

And they're mere pikers compared to their banking brethren:

Across Wall Street, banks are showing signs of strength. Last week, JPMorgan posted a 33 percent jump in quarterly profit, to $6.53 billion. Profit at Wells Fargo rose 22 percent, to $5.17 billion. Citigroup profit surged by 30 percent...

What explains this robust profitability of the banking sector?:

Goldman, like other banks, is benefiting from the ongoing improvement in the markets and the economy. While banks are adjusting to new regulation, they are finding new ways to bolster profit and cut costs, helping to drive record profit.

"Adjusting to the new regulation??" I'll say.

Meanwhile, here's a picture of the annual growth rate in weekly earnings of middle-wage workers. After falling in real terms for the last seven quarters, they broke zero last quarter, up 0.1 percent. The dollar value of the average paycheck for these non-supervisory workers is $675/week, or about $35,000 per year, assuming full-year work.

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