Cayman or Swiss? Published on Thursday, September 23, 2010 by CommonDreams.org US Poverty Data Tells Only Half the Story... by Ananya Mukherjee-Reed In April this year, Fortune magazine published an insightful analytical piece Fortune 500: Profits bounce back. Two days ago as I went back to the Fortune website to read the piece again, I found something very interesting: sitting right next to it was the story Poverty in the US Spikes. I took a screen-shot right away. The picture is worth much more than a mere thousand words: I think its worth 391 billion dollars (2009 the Fortune 500 earnings) or the 14.9 million Americans without jobs. You choose. Some excerpts from Profits Bounce Back: Amazingly, as consumers struggle, U.S. corporations are staging a nearly unprecedented comeback that's largely escaping notice. The gargantuan, dispiriting job cuts that seem to dominate the news have also been the spur for an epic resurgence in profits. For 2009, the Fortune 500 lifted earnings 335%, to $391 billion, a $301 billion jump that's the second largest in the list's 56-year history, approaching the increase in the robust recovery of 2003. The crucial reductions came in the item accounting for two-thirds of their costs: labor. In 2009, the Fortune 500 shed 821,000 jobs, the biggest loss in its history -- almost 3.2% of its payroll. ... ... The result was a wondrous surge in productivity, defined as the hours needed to make a bicycle, a PC, or a ton of insulation (emphasis mine) That ‘wondrous surge in productivity’ came from layoffs and by getting less workers to produce the same, or more. No wonder then, that during this same 2009 when profits bounced back and productivity soared, 4 millions more Americans fell into poverty. Or that almost 44 million Americans lived in poverty and 50.7 million were uninsured – the highest ever since the Census was taken. Let us flip back to the Fortune piece: The star of 2009 is undoubtedly health care. The sector's earnings jumped to an all-time high of $92 billion.. Health-care earnings rose by $23 billion, or 33%. It wasn't the band of new arrivals that accounted for most of the bounty, but extremely strong earnings from two groups ... medical insurers and pharmaceuticals. In medical insurance, profits recovered by cutting jobs and raising premiums. Obviously, the number of the uninsured grew. And there is more. Almost at the same time that the Census Report on poverty was released, Phoenix Marketing released its report on the Size of Affluent Markets in the US. ‘Impressive Resilience of Affluent Investors’ reads the headline of its executive summary. It estimates that there are about 182,000 ‘deca-millionaire’ households in the US - with $10 million or more in liquid wealth, up 17 percent. ‘Wealth households’, i.e. those with $1 million plus investible resources, grew by eight percent from 2009 to 2010 and now constitute nearly 5.6 million households.