Where are the earning? Where is the industrial growth?
Earnings peaked in 2014.
Then how did the stock market go up 40% more? Zero Interest Rate Inflation. The Federal Reserve central planning has only accomplished Stock Market inflation. Companies have neglected capital improvements for future growth in their business. They chose to take advantage of the Zero Net Interest rates (Nominal Rate - Inflation) to increase debt to buy back shares. The classic case is Boeing. Neglected to capital improve their fleet, chase instead to tinker with the old 737s. Now they have an aging fleet of planes and a negative book value. All debt, and a negative book value of 5 BILLION dollars.
Increasing debt and destroying capital. Why do they do it?
Operating earnings are flat because the US economy has not fully recovered from the Second Great Depression. We would have recovered if the Government and the Fed would have allowed the malinvestment to be liquidated. Allowed more financials to go bankrupt and liquidate, like Lehman Brothers. And allowed the auto industry to shrink, allow GM to disappear, or emerge out of bankruptcy as a smaller company.
Real earnings peaked in 2014. However, earnings per share are up, because of fewer shares. If shares are 90% of what they were, earning per share are up 10%, with no change in profits.
Also, the corporate tax cuts increased reported earning. That benefit is over.