Across the U.S. economy from 2015 - 2017, companies spent 58.6% of their net profits on stock buybacks.

“The problem is not isolated to a few companies or to a few industries: In most industries, the majority of companies spent over half of their total profits on buybacks between 2015 and 2017. Sixty percent (59.6 percent) of all non-financial, insurance, and real estate companies spent over half of their total profits on buybacks. During that same period, public companies in the restaurant, retail, and food manufacturing industries—employers of many of America’s low-wage workers, who are disproportionately women and people of color—spent 136.5 percent, 79.2 percent, and 58.2 percent, respectively, of their net profits on share buybacks.”

empirical