The Bank of America Leaked Memo Explained

bank of america leaked memo

In a private memo published by The Intercept, Bank of America ‘hopes’ that unemployment rises and worker conditions worsen. However, the exact quote is confusing. To help you, Beyond Satire will walk you through everything you need to know to understand the Bank of America leaked memo.

Bank of America Leaked Memo

On July 29th, The Intercept published a leaked private memo from Bank of America. The document was written by Ethan Harris, the head of global economics research for Bank of America Securities, the corporation’s investment banking arm.

The memo was released internally on June 17, and it does not wish the best to the working class of the United States. More specifically, as you can see on the bottom of page 1, Mr. Harris writes that :

“By the end of next year, we hope the ratio of job openings to unemployed is down to the more normal highs of the last business cycle.”

bank of america private memo The Bank of America leaked memo, released by The Intercept.

Bank of America Leaked Memo Explained

Ethan Harris hopes that the “ratio of job openings to unemployed” will be “down to the more normal highs of the last business cycle”. In other words, he wants there to be more unemployed people than job openings. However, this measurement is typically calculated the other way around, which is why it’s so confusing.

Below is data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Number of unemployed persons per job opening
Unemployed persons per job opening, from June 2007 to June 2022. Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data in the graph represents unemployed / job openings. Then, a high ratio means that many people were unemployed, and too few jobs were available. As you can see, in early 2020, Covid-19 took off. As such, businesses closed, people lost their jobs and couldn’t find work again. The ratio was high.

Since Ethan Harris used the job openings / unemployed ratio instead, the ‘ratio of job openings to unemployed […] down to the more normal highs of the last business cycle‘ is a reference to the peak in the graph in early 2020. He hopes for a ‘low’ ratio, corresponding to a ‘high’ ratio in the way this is typically calculated.

In short, the memo hopes that unemployment will be high, and job offers will be low. This is so that people are more competitive to find jobs, and companies can lower both pay and work conditions because people would be too desperate. The demand for jobs would be higher than the supply of job offers.

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Robin Playe
Robin Playe

Robin is current doing his Masters in Journalism in France. Passionate about politics, he lived in the USA for 8 years, and loves to write about US politics.

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