Yesterday we got the latest glimpse into US corporate profitability. Depending on the series observed, corporate profits are either flat-lining or rising. Before-tax corporate profits, the blue series in the chart below, are actually net down by $32 billion from the peak in 2014. Yet, after-tax profits are up about $130 billion from that same year. Of course, the recently enacted tax cuts explain the divergence here.
When looking at year-over-year growth rates, the divergence is more easily observed. Pre-tax profits are up about 4.3% from a year ago while after-tax profits are up almost 14% from a year ago.