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Corporate Profits Are Peaking

Profits as a percentage of GDP are hitting all-time highs but will begin to decline as tax headwinds intensify, interest rates head higher, and capital expenditures are required.

Bob Johnson: This week's chart compares corporate profits with overall economic activity. The number has been highly volatile, ranging from about 3% to as much as 7%. Right now, we are running at about 7.3%, an all-time record high. Over time, the series has been trending up a little bit, but it always tends to come back down again, and it often comes down in a recession and is cyclically related. 

But at the moment, the number is doing particularly well. There have been some tailwinds. We've had low taxes. We've had low capital expenditures. We've had low interest rates. And corporations have skimped a bit on their [selling, general, and administrative] expenses. All of those things have really helped this [number] and helped it set a new record high. That's the good news.