In the 11 quarters since the recession officially ended, profits have averaged 10.8% of national income. From 1947 to 1999, that ratio was never above 9%.
After-tax profits of nonfinancial corporations rose to a record 14.7% of the cost of tangible assets, double what it was during the 1980s.
In most years since the 1940s, corporations’ capital spending has exceeded their internal cash flow, meaning they were borrowing and raising capital from the outside to fund their investments. That’s now been reversed: Corporations are net lenders, not borrowers.