Methodology

COMPANY INCLUSION

The Trump Tax Cut Truths corporate data tracker includes information for companies that are ranked on the 2017 Fortune 1,000 (the 1,000 largest U.S. companies by revenue), and/or have announced any of the following since the passage of the Trump-GOP tax law on December 20, 2017:

  • Bonuses, wage increases, fringe benefits, pension contributions or new investments purportedly related to the tax law, as collected by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) on its List of Tax Reform Good News
  • Stock buybacks or job cuts; or
  • Estimates of 2018 tax cuts.

Fortune 500 companies’ revenues were $12.1 trillion in 2016, or two-thirds of the entire U.S. economy (GDP).

COMPARISON WITH AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM DATA

ATR’s List of Tax Reform Good News had 505 companies that had announced pay raises, bonuses, 401(k) match increases, expansions, and utility rate cuts as of April 8, 2018.

ATF’s corporate data tracker listed 831 companies on April 8, 2018, that have announced stock buybacks, job cuts, one-time bonuses, wage increases additional fringe benefits, pension plan contributions and new investments since the passage of the Trump tax cuts on December 20, 2017. This total also includes 129 companies with estimated tax cuts in 2018.

ATF is focused on the 370 companies (as of April 8, 2018) offering their workers bonuses and/or wage hikes for which the cost is given or can be estimated. The difference between ATR’s 505 companies and ATF’s 370 is the following: approximately 30 companies claim to be offering wage increases but there is no specific data to quantify the amount; companies are just offering increased fringe benefits but in most cases there is no cost associated with the claim; or utilities are passing some portion of their tax cuts along to ratepayers, but it is not possible to quantify the cost or is a relatively small amount of money, and generally regulators require utilities to pass savings on to customers.

Data Updates: ATF regularly adds new corporations to its database and website based on news reports or additions that ATR makes to its list. These changes are dynamically updated on the Trump Tax Cut Truths homepage, the Key Facts page, and the Data Summary spreadsheets.

STOCK BUYBACKS SPREADSHEET

The data tracker includes any new stock buyback programs authorized since the tax law passed both houses of Congress on December 20, 2017, and any increases to previously authorized buyback programs. The stock buyback totals do not include plans by companies to buy back stock in 2018 that had already been authorized prior to the law’s passage, though this information may be listed in the “Notes” section.

The sources for the information for each company are listed on the Stock Buybacks Data Summary spreadsheet, and include corporate press releases, corporations’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and news articles.

Generally, the information on the dollar value of the stock buyback authorization (or increase in authorization) is given in the company press release. In cases where the company announced only the number of shares that are authorized to be repurchased, we estimate the value by multiplying the number of shares by the closing stock price on the day the buyback was announced.

Stock buybacks for foreign companies are included in the data tracker if the company’s stock is traded on any U.S. stock exchanges.

JOB CUTS SPREADSHEET

The data tracker includes job cuts that occurred or are slated to occur after the tax law passed on December 20, 2017. Job cut data is gleaned from news reports as well as state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act notice reports. This data is not comprehensive and will be continuously updated.

Layoffs by U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies are included in this data when the job cuts occur within the U.S., as these subsidiaries are subject to U.S. taxes.

In cases where employees are laid off at a facility but are given the option to apply for other jobs within the company, or where positions will be added at another facility, we count the gross number of job cuts as there is no guarantee the laid-off workers will be able to find employment in other positions within the company.

When a range of estimates for the number of jobs to be cut exists, we use the upper end of the range, so the total job cuts for all companies should be viewed as an upper bound.

ANNUAL CORPORATE TAX CUTS SPREADSHEET

Estimates of how much corporations will save on an annual basis from the tax law are imprecise, since pre-tax profit levels can be volatile and the cut in the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% can be partially offset by changes to tax credits and deductions included in the new law. The majority of the annual tax cuts in the data tracker come from estimates made by JUST Capital, whose methodology explanation can be found here. When the company itself or another independent analyst, such as the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), has released an estimate we use this instead. ITEP’s estimates differ from JUST Capital’s estimates in a number of ways, the most prominent of which is that ITEP estimates the impact of the removal or increase in specific tax breaks the company will receive moving forward.

The data tracker does not include one-time tax savings some companies realized in the 4th quarter of 2017 due to reductions in previously deferred tax liability resulting from the corporate tax rate cut. Instead, the data tracker seeks to capture only ongoing tax reductions that companies will realize on a yearly basis.

EMPLOYEE BONUSES SPREADSHEET

Due to the assumptions described below, ATF’s estimates of the costs of employee bonuses are very generous and should be considered upper limits on the number of employees receiving bonuses and the total cost to employers.

The data tracker includes all companies on the “List of Tax Reform Good News” being maintained by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) that have announced employee bonuses in the wake of the tax law passage. Whenever possible, a link to the company press release or news article substantiating the information on the ATR list is provided in the Employee Bonuses Data Summary spreadsheet. In rare cases when these sources cannot be found, we rely on the information provided on the ATR list.

When the number of employees promised bonuses or the estimated cost of the bonuses is provided in the company press release or news article, we use these amounts. If these are not available, we made estimates using the following assumptions:

  • If the per-employee bonus amount and the number of employees to receive bonuses are given, we simply multiply these numbers to estimate the cost of the bonuses. Due to payroll taxes and fringe benefits, these estimates are not precise.
  • When the number of employees eligible for bonuses is unknown, we generously assume that all the company’s employees will receive the bonus. For public companies that file financial reports with the SEC, the number of employees is generally taken from the company’s most recent 10-K filing, which specifies the number of people employed at the end of the company’s last fiscal year. This number is often given in terms of full-time equivalent employees. For companies that do not have 10-K filings, the estimated number of employees is taken from a variety of sources, including iBanknet.com (for financial institutions), Buzzfile.com, Manta.com, and companies’ websites.
  • When a company specifies that bonuses will only go to U.S. employees but there is no available information about how many of a company’s employees are U.S.-based, we assume that all worldwide employees will get the bonuses.
  • In some cases, if the number of employees receiving bonuses is unknown, but the per-employee bonus amount and the total cost is given, we estimate the number of employees affected by dividing the total cost of the per-employee amount.
  • If the per-employee bonus amount is given as a range, as in cases where the bonus amount is dependent on length of service or full-time versus part-time status, and it is unknown how many employees are eligible for each bonus level, we generously assume that all employees will receive the maximum bonus amount. In rare cases, the company’s 10-K filing with the SEC specifies how many employees are full-time and part-time, and when this is available we use these numbers to estimate the overall cost of the bonuses.
  • For companies that have announced they would be giving bonuses related to the tax law but did not specify the per-employee bonus amount, we assume that employees will receive $1,000, which is by far the most common bonus amount announced.

WAGE INCREASES SPREADSHEET

Very few companies that have announced wage increases in the wake of the tax law passage have disclosed how many employees will be affected, and even fewer have disclosed the estimated cost of the increases over the course of the year. When this information is not available, we have estimated these numbers based on the following assumptions:

  • Using May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we analyze the median wage by detailed occupational group for the relevant industries, by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. For each industry appearing in our data, we determine the percentage of occupations with a median wage under the new minimum/base wage announced by companies (usually $15/hour). We multiply this percentage by the company’s total number of employees—found in the same sources described above in the Employee Bonus section—to estimate the number of employees affected by a minimum wage increase. For example, as shown in the table below: for commercial banks, which make up most of the companies promising wage increases, 25% of the workforce earns median wages less than $15. We apply this 25% to all banks for which the number of employees getting raises is unknown. Most banks in the data tracker have promised to increase their minimum wage to $15, though there is some variation. For banks that have announced new minimum wages other than $15, we still assume 25% of the workforce is making less than that amount, since these banks likely have wage ranges below the median.
  • When a company’s previous minimum wage is unknown, we use the median wage for the detailed occupational group earning below the new minimum wage that makes up the largest percentage of the workforce in the industry. (See the table below for the estimates we use for included industries.) To calculate the estimated cost of the wage increases, we take the difference between the new and previous minimum wage and multiply it by the estimated number of employees affected and then multiply by 2,080 hours—assuming full-time work. Note that these estimates do not take into consideration geographical variations in wages.
  • In a few instances where a company’s new minimum wage is lower than the BLS median wage we use for the industry, GlassDoor.com or Indeed.com is used to estimate the company’s previous minimum wage.

 

Bureau of Labor Statistics Wage Data for Industries Included in Data Tracker
Fortune Industry or Company NAICS Industry NAICS Code Percentage of Workforce With Median Wage Below New Minimum Wage Detailed Occupation Group Making Up Largest Percentage of Workforce With Median Wage Below New Minimum Wage Median Wage for Occupation Group
 Marsh & McLennan Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance Related Activities 524210 11% (Under $16) Office Clerks, General (4%) $14.21
Commercial Banks Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 5220A1 25% (Under $15) Tellers (23%) $13.53
Broadridge Financial Solutions Data processing 518200 9% Data Entry Keyers (3%) $13.65
Hormel Food manufacturing 311000 26% (Under $13)  Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers (8%) $12.25
Walmart General Merchandisers 452000 49% (Under $11) $10.69
MetLife; Protective Life Corporation; Travelers Cos.; Unum Group Insurance Carriers 524100 0.69% (Under $15) Receptionists and Information Clerks (0.29%) $14.82
Cigna 1.5% (Under $16) Data Entry Keyers (0.34%) $15.29
Discover Financial Services; OneMain Holdings Nondepository Credit Intermediation 522200 7.25% (Under $14) Tellers (3%) $12.89
 Charter Communications Telecommunications 517000 1.6% (Under $15) $11.61
Prospector Hotel & Gambling Hall Traveler Accommodation 721100 63% (Under $12) $10.70
Hourly Workers by NAICS Sector/Supersector
Fortune Industry or Company NAICS Sector/Supersector NAICS Sector Code(s) Number Hourly Employees Number Total Employees Percent Hourly Employees
Sutter Masonry Construction 23 5,294,000 6,903,100 77%
Commercial banks; Insurance carriers Financial activities 52, 53 3,545,000 8,004,620 44%
Pattison Sand Company Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction 21 397,000 591,130 67%
CVS Retail trade 44, 45 11,265,000 16,009,120 70%
 Mission Produce Wholesale trade 42 1,658,000 5,845,580 28%
  • We do not estimate the cost of wage increases when the amounts are not specified or employees plan to increase pay across the board by a certain percentage, as information is not available on payroll costs for prior years.
  • When another method is used for estimating the cost of wage increases, it is noted in the “Source” column of the Wage Increases Data Summary.
  • Since there is some overlap between the number of employees receiving bonuses and the number getting wage increases for many companies, we estimate the number of employees that are receiving bonuses and/or wage increases by taking the larger of the two numbers for each company, unless additional information is available.

FRINGE BENEFITS SPREADSHEET

The data tracker includes companies from the ATR “List of Tax Reform Good News” that have announced expansions to fringe benefits for employees, primarily increased 401(k) contributions, expanded parental leave, and employee education benefits.

Costs of these benefit expansions are only listed if they have been provided by the company or are easily estimable (such as a specified one-time contribution to each employee’s retirement account). We do not attempt to estimate other fringe benefits costs due to the limited publicly available information.

PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS SPREADSHEET

The data tracker includes companies that have announced one-time contributions to their pension funds, as reported by ATR or news sources. The contribution amounts are given by the companies and are not estimated. We do not include these contributions in the Fringe Benefit Data Summary spreadsheet because the law requires corporations to fund their workers’ pension plans and pensions are deferred wages owed to the employee. Moreover, many of these contributions were likely made to benefit from the 35% tax deduction on pension plan contributions available through Sept. 15, 2018. After this date, pension contributions will only qualify for a 21% tax deduction due to the reduction in the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%. A more detailed explanation of the implications of these pension contributions can be found here.

NEW INVESTMENTS SPREADSHEET

The data tracker includes claims by companies that they plan to increase their capital expenditures or other investments due to the tax cuts, which have been reported by the media or appear on ATR’s list. As explained in the New Investments Data Summary spreadsheet, many of these investments are likely not new at all.

We do not attempt to quantify vague statements about new investments, but the dollar amounts that have been provided by companies are included in the total, even when there is reason to believe some or all of the announced investment would likely have been made even in the absence of the new tax law.

CORPORATE CHEAPSKATES SPREADSHEETS

This list includes all Fortune 1,000 companies that have not made public announcements that we are aware of to increase worker pay or provide one-time bonuses.