A U.S. Economic Slowdown Has Been Confirmed, And We Are Being Warned That “More Damage” Is Ahead

We just witnessed the worst month for U.S. manufacturers in more than 10 years, and nobody seems optimistic that things are going to get much better any time soon.  In fact, one expert is warning that “more damage” is coming if the trade war is not resolved, and unfortunately it does not appear that a resolution will be possible for the foreseeable future.  As I have been detailing for months, the entire global economy has been steadily slowing down, but some shocking new numbers that we just got indicate that our economic problems are really starting to accelerate.  So hold on to your hats, because it looks like things are about to get really crazy.  According to CNBC, September was the worst month for U.S. factories in more than a decade

The U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index from the Institute for Supply Management came in at 47.8% in September, the lowest since June 2009, marking the second consecutive month of contraction. Any figure below 50% signals a contraction.

The new export orders index was only 41%, the lowest level since March 2009, down from the August reading of 43.3%, ISM data showed.

Those numbers are absolutely abysmal, and they were far worse than analysts were expecting.

Since December 2009, I have published more than 2,000 articles on The Economic Collapse Blog, and in all that time we have never seen manufacturing numbers this bad.

According to Peter Boockvar, the chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, we have “now tariffed our way into a manufacturing recession in the U.S. and globally”.  So those that have been waiting for a “manufacturing recession” to arrive can now stop waiting.  It is here, and it is going to be very painful.

All over America factories are starting to close down at an alarming pace.  This week, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards blamed the “sudden shutdown” of a steel plant in his state on the ongoing trade war

In Louisiana, meanwhile, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday blamed the sudden shutdown of a steel plant on tariffs. “While Bayou Steel has not given any specific reason for the closure, we know that this company, which uses recycled scrap metal that is largely imported, is particularly vulnerable to tariffs,” he said.

The closure of LaPlace, Louisiana-based of Bayou Steel will cost 376 employees their jobs.

All over the globe, manufacturing numbers are plunging at an alarming pace thanks to the trade war.  For a long time I warned my readers that the level of economic pain that this trade war would inflict upon all of us would steadily rise as long as this trade war persisted, and now the experts being quoted by the mainstream media are saying the exact same thing.  Here is just one example

“The manufacturing side is telling us something. It’s a combination of global growth and we’ve got a trade war that’s been going on for a year and a half,” said Christian Fromhertz, CEO of The Tribeca Trade Group. “That’s been freezing things up. The longer this trade war keeps going, the more damage it does.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is being hit extremely hard.

Overall, we haven’t seen a slowdown in global trade like this since the last recession, and at this point container shipping rates are down a whopping 34 percent since the beginning of 2019…

Container shipping rates continue to move lower into the fourth quarter of 2019, according to FreightWaves. The drop in price comes as a result of the most recent round of tariffs discouraging U.S. importers from front loading orders. As a result, ocean carriers are looking to cut even more shipping capacity in hopes of meeting tepid demand into the back end of the year.

Spot rates on the Freightos Baltic Daily Index for China-North America West Coast were down 8% from last week, falling to $1,327 per forty-foot equivalent unit. Container rates are down 34% since the beginning of the year, despite the industry now being in peak season. 

For months, I have been sharing numbers that indicate that the entire global economy is heading into a recession.  But now the numbers are absolutely screaming that major trouble is imminent.

Winter is coming, and it will not be pleasant.

After the horrifying U.S. manufacturing numbers were released on Tuesday, U.S. stock prices immediately began falling, and the Dow ended the day down more than 340 points

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 343.79 points lower, or 1.3% at 26,573.04 after rallying more than 100 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 slid 1.2% close at 2,940.25. The Nasdaq Composite was down 1.1% at 7,908.68.

Tuesday marked the worst one-day performance for the Dow and S&P 500 since Aug. 23.

Meanwhile, as is usually the case when economic doom erupts, the price of gold is soaring once again

Gloom for the economy is a boom for safe havens. A 10-year-low in a reading of U.S. manufacturing activity sent investors flocking back to the safety of gold on Tuesday, just after they let the yellow metal flounder to two-month lows.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $16.10, or 1%, at $1,489 per ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The threat of impeachment looms over Washington, and it could potentially unleash political chaos like we haven’t seen in the United States in decades.

And at the same time, the global economy is deteriorating to a degree that we have not seen since the last recession, and many believe that what is coming will be even worse than what we experienced a decade ago.

Dark storm clouds have gathered over America, and we stand on the precipice of one of the most critical moments in the history of our nation.

Unfortunately, most Americans are still dead asleep, and many of them have absolutely no idea what is about to happen.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

The Latest Numbers Tell Us That The Global Economic Slowdown Is Accelerating Dramatically

Economists are already predicting “the world’s lowest growth in a decade”, but it is beginning to look like what we will be facing will be much worse than that.  In recent days, numbers have been coming in from all over the planet that are absolutely abysmal.  The “global economic slowdown” is rapidly transitioning into a new global economic crisis, and central banks seem powerless to stop what is happening.  They have already pushed interest rates to the floor (actually below the floor in many cases), and over the past decade they have absolutely flooded the global economy with new money.  But despite all of this unprecedented intervention, economic conditions are deteriorating at a pace that is breathtaking.

Let’s start by taking a look at what is happening in India.  According to CNN, vehicle sales in India fell a whopping 31 percent in July…

Just two years ago, India’s huge car market was booming and global players were rushing to invest. Now it’s been slammed into reverse.

Sales of passenger vehicles plunged 31% in July, according to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Tuesday. It’s the ninth straight month of declines and the sharpest one-month drop in more than 18 years, SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told CNN Business.

Those are numbers you would expect to see if we were in the middle of a full-blown economic depression, and it is being projected that this downturn “could result in a million people being laid off”

The slump has prompted companies to slash over 330,000 jobs through the closing of car dealerships and cutbacks at component manufacturers, Mathur said, citing data from industry associations that govern those two sectors.

The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India warned in a statement last month that its “crisis-like situation” could result in a million people being laid off.

A million jobs is very serious.

And we are talking about just one industry in one country.

How many jobs will ultimately be lost all over the world in the months ahead?

Over in China, the auto industry is also deeply struggling

China’s Geely (GELYF) revealed this week that its net profit probably plunged by 40% in the first half of the year as the world’s second largest economy slowed. In June alone, its car sales fell 29%.

That isn’t supposed to happen in China.

For decades, China has been one of the primary engines of global economic growth, but now things have changed dramatically.

Perhaps you can blame the trade war for what is happening in China, but the auto industry is also in big trouble in Europe.  In fact, some of the biggest automakers in the world are closing European factories and ruthlessly slashing jobs

Ford is cutting 12,000 jobs and closing six plants in Europe, including an engine factory in the United Kingdom. Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors (TTM), is slashing 4,500 jobs. Honda is also closing a plant in the United Kingdom.

If those companies expected the European economy to bounce back in the foreseeable future, they would not be making such moves.

But just like you and I, they can see what is happening to Europe’s economy, and on Monday we just received some more deeply troubling news.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Weakness in euro-area manufacturing hit a climax this morning as German private sector activity plunged to a seven-year low. The Germany Manufacturing PMI slumped in September, dropping to 41.4, down from 44.7 in August, printing below the lowest sellside estimate (consensus of 44.4); worse, the German manufacturing recession is now spreading to the services sector, where the formerly resilient services PMI also slumped from 54.8 to 52.5, also missing the lowest analyst estimate, and collectively, resulting in the first composite PMI print below 50, or 49.1 to be precise, since April 2013. The rate of decline was one of the sharpest in seven years.

It appears that the German economy has already entered recession territory, and these new numbers are not causing anyone to be optimistic.

In fact, “abysmal” is hardly strong enough to describe these absolutely horrible figures

  • Flash Germany PMI Composite Output Index (1) at 49.1 (Aug: 51.7). 83-month low.
  • Flash Germany Services PMI Activity Index(2) at 52.5 (Aug: 54.8). 9-month low.
  • Flash Germany Manufacturing PMI(3) at 41.4 (Aug: 43.5). 123-month low.
  • Flash Germany Manufacturing Output Index(4) at 42.7 (Aug: 45.8). 86-month low.

Of course the U.S. economy has been slowing down for quite some time now, and if you doubt this, I encourage you to read this list of 28 alarming facts about our economy that I posted earlier this month.

We haven’t seen economic conditions like this in the United States since the depths of the Great Recession, and many believe that what is coming will be far worse than the last time around.

And we may be deep into the coming crisis far sooner than many were expecting.  In fact, David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff is adamant that there is “a recession coming in the next 12 months”

David Rosenberg, the Gluskin Sheff chief economist and strategist, is warning that a recession is coming. Rosenberg says economic growth in the United States will turn negative sooner than most investors anticipate and the Federal Reserve is powerless.

Even if the central bank lowers interest rates to zero, a recession will still grip the U.S. within 12 months, Rosenberg predicts. “There’s a recession coming in the next 12 months,” he stated with fact last Thursday on CNBC’s “Futures Now. The Fed just lowered its benchmark interest rate last Wednesday by a quarter-point and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled rates would only be cut again if there’s new evidence the economy is softening.

If things really start to deteriorate in the months ahead, we could be in the midst of a horrible economic downturn by the time the U.S. presidential election rolls around.

Let us hope that is not the case, but right now things certainly do not look good for the U.S. economy or for the global economy as a whole.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

Why Does The Federal Reserve Keep Slamming The Panic Button Over And Over If Everything Is Okay?

What in the world is the Federal Reserve doing?  For months the Fed has been trying to publicly convince us that the U.S. economy is “strong”, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell recently unequivocally stated that “the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession”, but the Fed’s actions tell a completely different story.  If the U.S. economy really is performing well, any economics textbook will tell you that the Fed should not be reducing interest rates.  Interest rate cuts should be saved for times when the economy is in serious trouble, and using up all of your ammunition before a downturn has begun is simply foolish.  And the Federal Reserve continues to insist that the financial system is functioning normally, but meanwhile things are spinning so wildly out of control that they felt forced to announce overnight repurchase agreement operations for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  We haven’t seen this sort of emergency intervention since the last financial crisis, but the Fed’s message to the general public is that “all is well”.

Unfortunately, the truth is that all is not well, and we continue to get more troubling economic news with each passing day.

In a desperate attempt to inject some vigor back into the U.S. economy, the Fed cut interest rates for the second month in a row on Wednesday

For the second time in two months, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday agreed to press down on the economy’s accelerator to keep the 10-year-old expansion chugging along.

A divided Fed lowered its benchmark interest rate by another quarter percentage point to a range of 1.75% to 2% in an effort to stave off a possible recession triggered by a global economic slowdown and the U.S. trade war with China.

Of course this wasn’t enough to please President Trump, and shortly after the rate cut was announced he posted the following on Twitter

Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No “guts,” no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!

Apparently Trump wanted an even larger rate cut with the promise of more rate cuts in the future, but if the U.S. economy really is in good shape we shouldn’t be having any rate cuts at all.  This was a panic move by the Fed, and they are going to find themselves very short on ammunition when things really start to get crazy.

And conducting overnight repurchase agreement operations for three days in a row also reeks of desperation.  If you are not familiar with the repo market, the following is how Yahoo News described the key role it plays for our financial system…

Financial institutions use money markets to borrow for very short periods, from one day to a year, a crucial function to keep the gears of the economy running.

In so-called repurchase or “repo” agreements, banks borrow by putting up assets like Treasury notes as collateral and then repay the loans with interest the following day.

In a fit of panic, the Fed injected $53,000,000,000 into the system on Tuesday and another $75,000,000,000 on Wednesday.

But it turns out that Wednesday’s injection wasn’t nearly large enough.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

20 minutes after today’s repo operation began, it concluded and there was some bad news in it: as we feared, yesterday’s take up of the Fed’s repo operation which peaked at $53.2 billion has expanded substantially, and according to the Fed, today there was a whopping $80.05BN in bids submitted, an increase of $27 billion, or 50% more than yesterday.

It also meant that since the operation – which is capped at $75BN – was oversubscribed by over $5BN, that there was one or more participants who did not get up to €5 billion in the critical liquidity they needed, and that the Fed will see a chorus of demands by everyone (because like with the discount window, nobody will dare to be singled out) to either expand the size of its operations, implement a fixed operation and/or – most likely as per the ICAP note yesterday –  transition to permanent open market operations, i.e. QE

And then we learned that the Fed had announced that they were going to inject another $75,000,000,000 on Thursday.

This is utter insanity, and to many it is clear evidence that the Fed is losing control

“This just doesn’t look good. You set your target. You’re the all-powerful Fed. You’re supposed to control it and you can’t on Fed day. It looks bad. This has been a tough run for Powell,” said Michael Schumacher, director, rate strategy, at Wells Fargo.

We haven’t seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008, and many are deeply concerned about what will happen as liquidity demands reach a peak as we approach the end of the month.

As our financial system continues to become increasingly unstable, is this sort of Fed intervention going to become a regular thing?

Of course there are some analysts that are already projecting that a massive new round of quantitative easing is inevitable at this point, and there is a very good chance that they are right.

Meanwhile, the “real economy” continues to deteriorate as well, and one new survey has found that a majority of U.S. CFOs now expect our economy to tumble into a new recession by the end of next year

Chief financial officers in the United States have started to prepare themselves and their finances for a recession. For the first time in several years, economic uncertainty is now their lead concern, replacing worries about the difficulty of hiring and retaining talented workers.

According to CNN, 53 percent of chief financial officers expect the United States to enter a recession prior to the 2020 presidential election. That information was sourced from the Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook survey released on Wednesday. And two-thirds predict a downturn by the end of next year.

Unfortunately, we may not have to wait that long, and according to John Williams of shadowstats.com if honest numbers were being used they would show that the U.S. economy is already in a recession right now.

For the moment, most Americans are still buying the narrative that everything is going to be just fine, but that will soon change.

The pace at which things are deteriorating is beginning to accelerate, and the Fed is going to have to hit the panic button many more times in the months ahead.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

6 Of The Last 8 U.S. Recessions Were Preceded By Oil Price Spikes – Damage To Saudi Oil Industry Could Take “Months” To Repair

When the price of oil rises dramatically, that tends to be really bad for the U.S. economy.  Because we are so spread out and goods are transported over such vast distances, our economy is particularly vulnerable to oil price shocks, and that is one reason why the events that we just witnessed in the Middle East are so alarming.  According to an article that was published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in 2007, five of the last seven U.S. recessions that had occurred up to that time “were preceded by considerable increases in oil prices”.  Since that article was published in 2007, the recession that began in 2008 hadn’t happened yet, and of course that recession was immediately preceded by the largest oil price spike in history.  So that means that six of the last eight U.S. recessions were preceded by oil price spikes, and now we may be facing another one.  It is being reported that it may take “months” for Saudi Arabia to fully repair the damage that was done to their oil industry, and that could fundamentally alter the balance of supply and demand in the global marketplace.

Yesterday, I discussed why high oil prices are so bad for our economy.  When the price of oil is too high, it can cause inflation and hurt economic growth simultaneously.  The article from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that I mentioned in the last paragraph tried to explain why this happens in very basic economic terms

Oil price increases are generally thought to increase inflation and reduce economic growth. In terms of inflation, oil prices directly affect the prices of goods made with petroleum products. As mentioned above, oil prices indirectly affect costs such as transportation, manufacturing, and heating. The increase in these costs can in turn affect the prices of a variety of goods and services, as producers may pass production costs on to consumers. The extent to which oil price increases lead to consumption price increases depends on how important oil is for the production of a given type of good or service.

Oil price increases can also stifle the growth of the economy through their effect on the supply and demand for goods other than oil. Increases in oil prices can depress the supply of other goods because they increase the costs of producing them. In economics terminology, high oil prices can shift up the supply curve for the goods and services for which oil is an input.

Needless to say, the unprecedented attack on Saudi oil production facilities was going to cause the price of oil to rise substantially.  In fact, when global markets opened up on Sunday evening we witnessed quite a dramatic spike

In an extraordinary trading day, London’s Brent crude leaped almost $12 in the seconds after the open, the most in dollar terms since their launch in 1988. Prices subsequently pulled back some of that initial gain of almost 20%, but rallied again as traders waited in vain for an Aramco statement clarifying the scale of damage.

So where is the price of oil going from here?

One analyst quoted by Oilprice.com believes that we could soon see it hit $80 a barrel, and others believe that it could move up toward $100 a barrel not too long from now.

In the days ahead, global markets will be watching Saudi Arabia very carefully.  The longer it takes them to resume normal production levels, the higher the price of oil will go.

According to Bloomberg, one analyst is already publicly admitting that “full resumption could be weeks or even months away”…

All eyes are on how fast the kingdom can recover from the devastating strike, which knocked out roughly 5% of global supply and triggered a record surge in oil prices. Initially, it was said that significant volumes of crude could begin to flow again within days. While Aramco is still assessing the state of the plant and the scope of repairs, it currently believes less than half of the plant’s capacity can be restored quickly, said people familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

”Damage to the Abqaiq facility is more severe than previously thought,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. “While we still believe up to 50% of the 5.7 million barrels a day of output that has been disrupted could return fairly swiftly, full resumption could be weeks or even months away.”

That is really bad news, and that is assuming that there won’t be any more attacks like we just witnessed.

If there are more attacks, Saudi oil production could be far lower than normal for an extended period of time, and that would be catastrophic for the global economy.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but a lot of Saudi oil actually gets shipped to the west coast.  The following comes from Fox Business

Drivers in California, however, could be hit the hardest. Nearly half of what Saudi Arabia exports to the U.S. is sent to the West Coast, as reported by Reuters. In the year that ended in June, the West Coast imported an average of about 11.4 million barrels of Saudi crude every month – much of which went to California refineries.

The Golden State already has among the highest average gasoline prices in the country – at $3.63 per gallon as of Monday.

We are going to see higher gasoline prices right away, but in the short-term we should be able to handle them okay.

But if there are more attacks like the one we just saw, or if a major war breaks out in the Middle East, the price of gasoline could easily spike to levels that we have never seen in this country before.

The U.S. economy was already deeply struggling even before the attack in Saudi Arabia, and so this could definitely push us over the edge.  We should all be getting prepared for an extended economic downturn, because it looks like that is precisely what we could be facing.

Hopefully we won’t see any more attacks on oil production facilities, but the attack on Saturday clearly demonstrated how extremely vulnerable such facilities are to terror attacks.  And with Middle East tensions currently at an all-time high, USA Today is warning that our future “may well get much rockier soon”…

The new threat is tension among nations in the region, as well as the ability to attack based on new and relatively simple technology. Drones can be flown long distances carrying weapons just powerful enough to attack oil facilities. Middle East tensions are severe enough that attempts at similar attacks are not over.

Oil futures do not trade based on the present. They trade on forecasts about oil supply and demand in the future. The future looks rocky and may well get much rockier soon.

We are truly in uncharted territory, and we desperately need peace and calm to prevail in the Middle East.

Sadly, that is not likely to happen, and every new wave of violence is going to mean more economic pain for all of us.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

60 Percent Of Americans Believe A Recession Is Coming – But Consumers Continue To Pile Up Debt At A Frightening Pace

We haven’t seen survey results like this since just before the last recession.  Right now, 60 percent of Americans believe that a recession is “very or somewhat likely in the next year”, and the reason why that figure is so high is because there is already a tremendous amount of evidence that the economy is slowing down all around us.  As I have been documenting repeatedly, U.S. economic performance has not been this dismal since 2008 and 2009, and the slowdown seems to be gaining pace as we move toward the end of 2019.  So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that a solid majority of the country thinks that the next recession will officially begin very soon.  The following comes from ABC News

Ratings of the U.S. economy overall, 56% positive, are down from 65% last fall in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. Most ominously, 60% see a recession as very or somewhat likely in the next year. That’s within sight of the 69% who said so in November 2007, in advance of the Great Recession.

But at the same time, U.S. consumers continue to pile up more debt at a frightening pace.

According to NBC News, total revolving credit shot up at an 11.25 annual pace during the month of July…

According to the Federal Reserve’s consumer credit tracker, revolving credit — a category in which credit card debt predominates — increased at an annualized rate of 11.25 percent in July, the most recent month for which data is available.

“In terms of revolving debt, we see spikes like this every so often, but they don’t jump by double digits all that much,” said Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards. Typically, big jumps occur around the holidays, though — not in July.

If a severe economic downturn really is coming, the smart thing to do would be to get out of credit card debt.

But these days Americans have been trained to be very short-term thinkers.  And when things start to get tight, it is really easy to put expenses on a credit card and worry about them later.  This is something that I did when I was a much younger man, and it is something that millions of American families all over the nation are doing right now.

When the money simply isn’t there, it is just so tempting to whip out a credit card.  But credit card debt is one of the most insidious forms of debt because of the high interest rates most credit card companies charge.  And at this moment credit card companies are jacking up rates to a degree that we haven’t seen in many years

WalletHub says average credit card APRs for people with good credit and business credit cardholders — at 20.9 percent and 18.5 percent, respectively — are the highest they’ve been since it began tracking rates in 2010.

For people with less than stellar credit, even those rates might be out of reach, McClary said. For example, a new applicant with a credit score in the low 600s might be offered an APR of about 22 percent, he said.

Unfortunately, the more debt that you accumulate, the less likely it becomes that you will ever start building up substantial wealth of your own.

Today, tens of millions of Americans are deep in debt and are working exceedingly hard to make other people rich.  And this is one of the biggest reasons why well over half the nation is currently living in “asset poverty”

Many Americans claim they simply don’t earn enough money to build any type of savings account or amass any meaningful financial assets. Now, a troubling study out of Oregon State University finds some definite statistical truth to these sentiments, concluding that over 63% of American children and 55% of Americans live in “asset poverty.”

In other words, most Americans are living right on the edge financially, and that is a very dangerous place to be.  If you are not familiar with the term “asset poverty”, the following is a pretty good definition

Asset poverty means having few or no financial assets to fall back on in the event of a financial calamity, such as losing one’s job or encountering a medical crisis. Some examples of common financial assets are vehicles, houses, savings accounts, and investments. Without these assets, weathering a financial crisis is extremely difficult.

When you really don’t have any real wealth of your own, you are essentially living paycheck to paycheck, and a single major setback can be absolutely disastrous.

In America today, financial difficulties are one of the biggest reasons why so many of us are completely stressed out, and the next recession hasn’t even officially begun yet.

But with each day we continue to get more numbers that tell us that big trouble is on the way.  For example, we just learned that the U.S. lost 4,500 trucking jobs last month

The trucking industry has been battling challenging circumstances so far in 2019 – which includes the loss of thousands of positions last month.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry lost 4,500 jobs between July and August.

And of course trucking companies continue to go bankrupt at a staggering pace.  According to Business Insider, more than 600 trucking companies have already gone bankrupt so far this year…

Indicators from the trucking industry have been sour in 2019. In the first half of the year, around 640 trucking companies went bankrupt, according to industry data from Broughton Capital LLC. That’s more than triple the number of bankruptcies from the same period last year — about 175.

Sometimes people think that I exaggerate when I warn people about what is coming.  But the truth is that I am not exaggerating at all.  If anything, I feel frustrated that I am not able to effectively communicate how bad it will actually be when things start to get really crazy.

As a nation, we have been making incredibly bad decisions for decades, and we have been running in the exact opposite direction of where we should be headed as fast as we can.

In life, all decisions have consequences, and we are going to pay an extraordinarily high price for our exceedingly foolish decisions.

For the moment, things are relatively quiet.  But that quietness will not last for much longer.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell Insists There Won’t Be A Recession When All The Evidence Suggests Otherwise

It’s happening again.  Just like last time around, the head of the Federal Reserve is telling us that there won’t be a recession even though all of the evidence suggests otherwise.  Just before the recession of 2008, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke told the country that “the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession”, and shortly thereafter we plunged into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  This time, it is Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that is attempting to prop things up by making positive statements that are not backed up by reality.  Speaking to a group at the University of Zurich, Powell insisted that the Fed is “not at all” anticipating that there will be a recession…

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday that he doesn’t “at all” expect the U.S. to enter a recession, though he hinted the central bank will likely cut interest rates as expected this month.

“Our main expectation is not at all that there will be a recession,” Powell said in a panel discussion at the University of Zurich.

Meanwhile, things are literally falling apart all around us.  Just a few days ago, I put together a list of 28 data points that clearly indicate that a recession is imminent, and since then we have gotten even more bad news.

For instance, we just learned that Fred’s will be filing for bankruptcy and closing more than 500 stores

Discount merchandise retailer and pharmacy chain Fred’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday with plans to close all of its stores.

The company plans to liquidate its assets, punctuating a swift collapse of its operations that involved a cascading series of store closures in recent months.

At this point, U.S. retailers have announced the closing of more than 8,200 stores in 2019, and we are going to break the old record for store closings in a single year by so much that the term “retail apocalypse” just doesn’t seem sufficient to describe the scale of what we are witnessing any longer.

Many are blaming “the Internet” for this colossal wave of store closings, but is “the Internet” also responsible for the transportation recession that has already started?

According to Zero Hedge, on a year over year basis heavy-duty truck orders were down 69 percent in June and 80 percent in July…

According to ACT Research, heavy-duty truck orders from the four largest truck makers in North America (Daimler Trucks North America, Paccar, Volvo Trucks USA, and Navistar International) collapsed 80% in July YoY. Orders in June plunged 69% from a year earlier.

As heavy-duty truck orders collapse, suppliers, such as ones who produce transmissions have predicted that the outlook for sales this year will be horrible.

And as global trade continues to plummet, one of the biggest shipping companies in the entire world has “temporarily suspended” one of their main routes…

Growth in the world continues to collapse into late summer, so much so that Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) had to “temporarily suspend” their AE2/Swan Asia to North Europe loop until mid-November, removing 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) a week from trade, reported The Loadstar.

None of this would be happening if economic conditions were good.

So let’s stop with the nonsense.  Fed Chair Jerome Powell can deny reality all that he wants, but that isn’t going to change anything.

There are some people out there that are still finding solace in the fact that the official unemployment number in the U.S. is still so low.  At just “3.7 percent”, it is the lowest that it has supposedly been in decades, but most people don’t realize that it has also been highly manipulated.  It doesn’t include tens of millions of people that are working part-time for economic reasons, that are working temporary jobs or that are part of “the missing labor force”.

John Williams of shadowstats.com compares the official employment numbers to what they would look like if honest numbers were being used, and his figures tell an entirely different story.

According to Williams, the “real” rate of unemployment in the U.S. was hovering around 12 or 13 percent prior to the last recession, and then it shot up above 20 percent and has stayed there ever since.  In fact, the alternate unemployment rate on shadowstats.com is currently sitting at 21.2 percent.

So that would suggest that we have never even come close to recovering from the last recession.

But of course “3.7 percent” sounds so much better than “21.2 percent”, and millions of Americans have completely bought into the false narrative that unemployment has been steadily falling since the early days of the Obama administration.

Unfortunately, we live at a time when a lot of people don’t want to hear the truth, and “reality” is defined by whoever has the biggest spin machine.  Americans are more deeply divided than ever, and there is very little agreement on the direction that our country should go.  Meanwhile, economic conditions are deteriorating a little bit more with each passing day and it has become exceedingly clear that a new crisis is upon us.  And this new crisis has arrived at a time when our debt bubble is larger than it has ever been before.  In fact, one expert has calculated that our total debt burden is now “running close to 2,000% of GDP”

Total potential debt for the U.S. by one all-encompassing measure is running close to 2,000% of GDP, according to an analysis that suggests danger but also cautions against reading too much into the level.

AB Bernstein came up with the calculation — 1,832%, to be exact — by including not only traditional levels of public debt like bonds but also financial debt and all its complexities as well as future obligations for so-called entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and public pensions.

There is no way that this is going to end well.

The two major political parties will continue to relentlessly fight with one another, and it will mostly be about really silly stuff.  But as they fight, our nation is literally steamrolling into oblivion, and there appears to be very little hope of avoiding our fate at this point.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Uh Oh: U.S. Layoffs Rise 38 Percent – Highest Level For August Since 2009

We continue to get more numbers that indicate that U.S. economic activity is really starting to slow down.  According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of layoffs in the United States was 38 percent higher in August than it was in July.  A 38 percent increase in one month is more than just a little bit startling, and many believe that if this momentum continues we could soon be facing an avalanche of job losses similar to what we witnessed in 2008.  And without a doubt, all of the other economic numbers that have been rolling in lately also confirm that the U.S. economy is heading into harder times.  But is our country ready to handle another major economic downturn?

Even though there have been moments of difficulty over the past decade, we truly haven’t seen anything like this since the last recession.  In fact, the latest job cut numbers that we just got from Challenger, Gray & Christmas are the highest that we have seen during any August since 2009

Employers also announced the most layoffs of any August since 2009, the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.

Job cuts rose 38 percent over July, with 53,480 positions to be slashed from employer payrolls, led by workforce reductions in health care, which had been a mainstay of recent job creation, the tech sector and manufacturing.

So why is this happening?

Well, certainly there are many factors at play, but Andrew Challenger has singled out “the trade war” as one of the biggest reasons

“Employers are beginning to feel the effects of the trade war and imposed tariffs by the US and China,” Andrew Challenger, the firm’s vice president, said in a statement.

Other nations are really starting to feel the effects of the trade war as well.  This week, Germany reported a startling drop in new manufacturing orders

Contracts for ‘Made in Germany’ goods fell 2.7% from the previous month in July, data showed on Thursday, driven by a big drop in bookings from non-euro zone countries, the economy ministry said. That undershot a Reuters consensus forecast for a 1.5% drop.

“The misery in manufacturing continues. The decline in new orders significantly increases the risk of a recession for the German economy,” VP Bank analyst Thomas Gitzel said.

During the second quarter, German GDP growth fell into negative territory, and it looks like that will happen again here in the third quarter.

That would mean that Germany is already in a recession right now, and that is very troubling news for all of Europe.

Here in the U.S., just about everything that we would expect to see happen just prior to the beginning of a recession is happening in textbook fashion right in front of our eyes.

In particular, the transportation industry is already mired in a very deep downturn, and we just learned that orders for heavy trucks in August were down by 80 percent compared to a year earlier…

Orders for heavy trucks that haul part of the economy’s goods across the US plunged by 80.1% in August 2019 compared to August last year, to about 10,400 orders, according to preliminary estimates by FTR Transportation Intelligence. It was the 10th month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the second month in a row of 80%-plus declines, with orders in July having plunged 81.2% to about 9,800, not seen since 2010.

I don’t know about you, but an 80 percent decline sure seems like an awfully big red flag to me.

Overall, it is still being projected that the U.S. economy will stay out of contraction territory in the third quarter, but GDP forecasts have continued to slip.  The following comes from Reuters

The U.S. economy is likely growing at a 1.7% annualized rate in the third quarter, based on weaker-than-forecast data on domestic manufacturing activity and construction spending, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecast model showed on Tuesday.

This was slower than the 2.0% pace estimated by the Atlanta Fed’s GDP program on Aug. 30.

In the end, any number above zero for the third quarter should be considered a big victory in this global economic environment.

But even if we eke out slight growth in the third quarter, nobody should be using the word “booming” to describe our economy.  In fact, we haven’t been “booming” for a very, very long time.  We haven’t had a full year when U.S. GDP grew by at least 3 percent since the middle of the Bush administration, and at this point nearly 40 percent of the nation struggles to pay for the basics

Many people still struggle to pay bills — even for something as basic as food.

That’s the difficult conclusion of a new report released this week by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy group based in Washington, D.C., which surveyed almost 7,600 adults last December. Some 39.4% of adults said their families had trouble meeting at least one basic need for food, health care, housing, or utilities last year.

The gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” continues to grow in our country, and that has dire implications for our future.  If those with money and power continue to have a “let them eat cake” attitude about all of this, eventually we will see chaos in our streets, and this is something that Umair Haque recently discussed

How can the economy be “strong” when 40% of people are struggling to eat? Isn’t that a little bit like the Hunger Games actually coming to life? Is that where America is now? What on earth?

Think about the fact itself for a second, before we discuss it — 40% of people in the world’s richest country struggle to afford food. It’s a “Let Them Eat Cake” moment happening before our eyes. How much more Versailles can you get? There’s nothing — nothing — more basic than being able to afford food. When a society can’t provide food for its people, it’s one of the most severe and fundamental indicators that something’s badly, badly wrong.

More government handouts are certainly not the answer.  The U.S. government already hands out money and benefits to more than 100 million people every month, and yet our problems just continue to escalate.

In the end, people want to be able to work hard and provide for their own families.  We need an economy that creates more good paying jobs and makes it easy to start businesses, and we haven’t had such an economy for a very long time.

And now it appears that we are heading into a new economic crisis.  The job losses are likely to escalate in the months ahead, and many believe that the economic pain that we will experience will be even greater than what we experienced during the last recession.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!