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Jamie Dimon: We've 'Bifurcated' the Economy

JP Morgan Chase CEO says the poor are being left behind
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2019 4:41 PM CDT
In this April 4, 2017 file photo, Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, discusses his Annual Letter to Shareholders at the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America in Washington.   (Paul Morigi/AP Images for JPMorgan Chase)

(Newser) – There are two Americas, according to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon: In one, people are benefiting from corporations that are doing well. In the other, however, people are really struggling. "I don't want to be a tone deaf CEO," Dimon said, per CNBC, at the bank's New York headquarters while launching a new program meant to increase job prospects for people in underserved communities. "While the company is doing fine, it is absolutely obvious that a big chunk of [people] have been left behind. Forty percent of Americans make less than $15 an hour. Forty percent of Americans can't afford a $400 bill, whether it's medical or fixing their car. Fifteen percent of Americans make minimum wages, 70,000 die from opioids [per year]." He added, per Yahoo Finance, that millions of jobs are currently available but people aren't graduating with the skills they need.

Yet, he continued, "If you travel around to most neighborhoods where companies live, they're doing fine. So we've kind of bifurcated the economy." Dimon has long spoken out about the declining participation rate in the labor force, as well as the education system's shortfalls in preparing future workers; rather than focusing on traditional colleges and universities, his company has been putting its efforts into community colleges and training programs that are outside the university context. Companies need to play a role in addressing these problems, he says. The program will put $200 million toward new training programs for in-demand digital and technical jobs, $125 million toward increased collaboration between employers and educational institutions, and $25 million toward data and analysis to help companies figure out how to help people move up from low-wage positions. (Dimon once said he could beat Trump.)

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