12 Signs That The Economy Is Seriously Slowing Down As 2020 Begins

Lost in all of the headlines about Iran and impeachment is the fact that the U.S. economic slowdown which began during the latter stages of last year appears to be accelerating.  The final numbers which will tell us if we are officially in a recession at this moment won’t be released until months from now, but for millions upon millions of Americans it definitely feels like one has already started.  Yes, the stock market has been soaring, but at this point the stock market has become completely divorced from economic reality.  And as you will see later in this article, stock prices are now the most overvalued that they have ever been in all of American history.

But before we get to that, let’s talk about what is happening in the real economy.

The following are 12 signs that the economy is seriously slowing down as 2020 begins…

#1 The U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index has been in contraction for 5 months in a row, and it is now at the lowest level we have seen since June 2009.

#2 Last month, manufacturing employment fell at the fastest pace we have seen since August 2009.

#3 Last month, new manufacturing orders fell at the fastest pace we have seen since April 2009.

#4 Chicago PMI has been contracting for 4 months in a row.

#5 European manufacturing PMI declined again in December.

#6 Borden Dairy, one of the largest dairy companies in the entire world, declared bankruptcy just a few days ago.

#7 Earlier this month, the Baltic Dry Index had its worst day in 6 years.

#8 Overall, the decline in the Baltic Dry Index this month is the largest that we have seen since 2008.

#9 The auto recession just continues to get even worse.  Thanks to the substantial slowdown we witnessed during the second half of 2019, the total number of cars and trucks sold in the United States during all of 2019 was actually below the level that we witnessed back in 2000 when our population was significantly smaller.

#10 Used heavy duty truck prices have fallen “as much as 50%“.

#11 Macy’s just announced that they will be closing 28 stores.

#12 To start the year, AT&T is laying off thousands of workers, and according to Robert Reich those being laid off “will have to train their foreign replacements“.

Of course many of the “experts” continue to assure us that everything will be just fine.

In fact, one panel of “experts” recently came to the conclusion that there is “almost no chance of a recession this year”.

That would be absolutely wonderful news if it was true.

Sadly, the numbers that I just shared with you tell a completely different story.  They tell the story of an economy that is most definitely heading for a recession.

And according to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the government was using honest numbers they would show that we are actually in a recession right now.

But what about the stock market?

Shouldn’t the fact that stock prices have been soaring be seen as an optimistic sign?

Well, there have been a few other stock bubbles of this nature throughout our history, and all of them have ended very badly.

In 1929, stock prices were at an all-time record high and it seemed like the economic good times would never end.

But then the stock market crashed and we plummeted into the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In 2000, the dotcom bubble pushed stock prices to absolutely absurd heights, but then stock prices quickly collapsed when the bubble burst and the U.S. economy fell into a very painful recession.

During the years leading up to 2008, stock prices once again rose to dizzying levels and it seemed like the party would last indefinitely.

But then the financial crisis struck, and the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 was the most excruciating economic downturn our nation has experienced since the 1930s.

Unfortunately, we are even more primed for a stock market crash now than we were in any of the previous examples that I just shared.

So how do I know this?

Well, for one thing P/E ratios have become ridiculously inflated.  The following comes from Marketwatch

Indeed stocks are overvalued according to the popular measure of price-to-earnings (P/E) — which compares the price of one share of stock to one year of per-share earnings relative to recent history. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.29% is trading at 18.6 times forward earnings, according to FactSet data, above the average ratio of 16.7 during the past five years and 14.9 over the past ten.

In addition, price-to-sales ratios for the S&P 500 are now at the highest level in all of U.S. history

The above chart, from Ned Davis Research, shows that price relative to sales for the S&P 500 is at a record high, “well in excess of what they were in 2000 or 2007 at those peaks,” wrote Ned Davis in a Wednesday note to clients.

Other measures, like the median price to earnings ratio — which exclude the skewed effects of very profitable and very unprofitable companies — shows the S&P 500 overvalued by nearly 30% versus the typical valuation level seen since 1964.

In other words, in the entire history of the United States stock prices have never been more overvalued than they are at this moment.

And every other time we have seen stock price ratios get this high, an absolutely horrifying stock market crash has followed.

The optimists are insisting that things will somehow turn out differently this time.

They assure us that everything is under control and that very bright days are ahead.

You can believe them if you want, but every indicator is pointing in the opposite direction.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

The Cold, Hard Facts Which Prove That The Past Decade Was Actually Quite Awful For The U.S. Economy

If this is what “the good times” look like, how nightmarish are “the bad times” going to be?  In America today, more than 500,000 of us are homeless, about 40 million of us are living in poverty, 50 percent of all workers make less than $33,000 a year, and 70 percent of us have cried about money.  But at least the economy has been “growing”, right?  Well, in this article I would like to address that.  Even if you believe that the highly manipulated economic growth numbers that the government puts out are legitimate, they still show that we are in one of the worst economic stretches in all of U.S. history.

From 1930 to 1933, the U.S. economy experienced four years in a row during which GDP growth each year was under 3 percent.

Up until this current stretch, that was the longest streak in our entire history.

Of course we have absolutely shattered that old record, and now that 2019 is over we can add one more year to our growing total.  At this point, you have to go back to 2005 to find the last year in which the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent.

That means that the U.S. economy has not actually had a “good year” since the middle of the Bush administration.

14 years in a row of economic growth below 3 percent is not anything to cheer about.  In fact, it is downright abysmal.

But the good news is that stock prices have been steadily rising over the past decade.  Just check out the numbers that David Wessel recently shared with PBS

So, look, the stock market had a terrific decade. The S&P 500 rose nine out of 10 years. The S&P 500 is up nearly 30 percent this year, just this year alone. And half the stock market wealth in America is held by the top 1 percent of people.

The Federal Reserve created trillions of dollars out of thin air and pumped that money into the financial markets, and of course that was going to be good for stock prices.  And pushing interest rates to the floor also helped inflate the massive bubble that we now see on Wall Street.  The following bit of analysis comes from CNBC

The Fed has kept borrowing rates low throughout the decade, gradually raising them from the end of 2015 through 2018, only to cut quickly again in 2019 to try to fend off any uncertainty in the economy. The central bank’s balance sheet sits at roughly $4 trillion, quadruple its size in 2008.

Needless to say, there is going to be a great price to pay in the long-term for such manipulation, but as long as stock prices keep rising most people don’t seem to care.

Unfortunately, these high stock prices do not represent any sort of permanent wealth.  They are simply a snapshot of what people are willing to pay at this moment in time, and a major disaster could come along which could cut those prices in half by next month.

Economic optimists also like to point to the employment numbers as evidence that the economy is doing well, but those numbers are so manipulated that they are essentially meaningless at this point.

In fact, most of the people that are transitioning from not having a job to having a job each month did not even count as “unemployed” the month previously

This year, the portion of people who got jobs each month who wouldn’t even have been counted among the unemployed the month before reached 75 percent. That’s by far the highest it’s been in the last three decades. The percentage of working-age Americans who have jobs only returned to its pre-Great Recession peak in the last few months. (It still has a ways to go before it returns to its previous peak, just before the 2001 recession.)

Today, more than 100 million working age Americans do not have a job, and John Williams has calculated that if honest numbers were being used that the real unemployment rate would be above 20 percent.

The truth is that we still have an employment crisis in this country, and anyone that suggests otherwise is not being straight with you.

Meanwhile, productivity growth has been absolutely terrible over the past decade, an increasing share of the economy has become concentrated in corporate hands, and small business creation has continued to collapse.  The following comes from an excellent article by Annie Lowrey

In many ways, the American economy became more sclerotic. Corporate concentration increased, with more industry sectors dominated by a small handful of firms. All the stories about the furious innovation coming from Silicon Valley and other tech-dominated regions aside, the start-up economy continued its long, slow collapse. The number of IPOs has fallen, and there are now half as many publicly listed businesses as there were in the late 1990s. Our cultural obsession with start-ups peaked at a time when companies under a year old were half as common as they were 40 years ago.

At the same time, the cost of living for average American families has been skyrocketing but our paychecks have not.  As a result, more Americans are being squeezed out of the middle class with each passing month.  Here is more from Lowrey

Millions of young families who tried to save for a home were unable to purchase one, sapped by the toxic combination of high rents and a lack of stock. Throw in sky-high child-care prices, spiraling out-of-pocket health-care fees, and heavy educational-debt loads, and the 2010s crushed a whole generation as it entered its prime earning years. The Millennials are on track to be the first generation in contemporary history to end up poorer than their parents—unless Gen X beats them to it.

The only thing that has saved our economy from plunging into a horrific depression has been the greatest debt binge in all of human history.

Over the last ten years we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt, state and local government debt has soared to record highs all over the nation, corporate debt has risen more than 50 percent, student loan debt has more than doubled and the total amount of U.S. household debt is now nearing 14 trillion dollars.

By stealing from the future, we have been able to stabilize the present, but the long-term cost will be more than we can bear.

It is only a matter of time before our mistakes catch up with us, and the clock is ticking.

So please don’t try to tell me that the U.S. economy is in good shape.

The last decade was one of the worst stretches for economic growth in our history, and a day of reckoning awaits us during the decade that is directly ahead.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Destruction Of The Family: The U.S. Has The Highest Rate Of Children Living With A Single Parent In The Entire World

The family unit is one of the fundamental pillars of any society, and so the weaker our family units become the weaker our entire nation is going to become.  For decades, the traditional family unit has been under assault in America, and the consequences have been absolutely catastrophic.  Today, the marriage rate has dropped to levels that we have never seen before, we continue to have one of the highest divorce rates in the entire world, and more couples than ever are choosing not to get married at all.  As a result, the number of single parents has been steadily rising, and at this point the United States actually has the highest rate of children living with a single parent of any country on the entire planet.  The following comes from Pew Research

For decades, the share of U.S. children living with a single parent has been rising, accompanied by a decline in marriage rates and a rise in births outside of marriage. A new Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories shows that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households.

Almost a quarter of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults (23%), more than three times the share of children around the world who do so (7%).

You would think that with how rapidly modern notions of “morality” are spreading around the globe that someone out there would be worse than us, but sadly we are dead last on the list.

In fact, our rate is more than four times higher than India and more than seven times higher than China

In comparison, 3% of children in China, 4% of children in Nigeria and 5% of children in India live in single-parent households. In neighboring Canada, the share is 15%.

Should we really be lecturing anyone else about how they should be conducting themselves when we are such a complete and utter mess?

We like to think of ourselves as a light to the rest of the world and a great example that they should follow, but the truth is that we are a nation of complete and utter degenerates.

Of course it wasn’t always this way.  If you go back to 1960, less than 10 percent of all American children lived with a single parent…

America’s top spot has been a long time coming, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. In 1960, just 9 percent of U.S. children lived with one parent, and just 3 percent lived with either a non-parent relative or a non-relative. By 2019, the Census Bureau estimated that 26 percent of children lived with single parents (a figure that varies from Pew’s due to methodological differences), while just 4 percent lived with non-parent relatives or non-relatives.

So what happened?

Well, the truth is that there has been a concerted effort to radically change American culture, and this has especially been true when it comes to sexual morality.

Our televisions, our movies, our education system and most of our politicians endlessly assure us that it is perfectly fine to run around like wild animals doing whatever we feel like doing.  As a result, more than 110 million Americans now have a sexually transmitted disease, we have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the industrialized world, and about 40 percent of all U.S. babies are born to unmarried women

In 1960, nonmarital births were quite rare. Today, about two-fifths of all births are to unmarried women. This resulted from a complicated combination of moral and behavioral changes, and a new report from Senator Mike Lee’s Social Capital Project disentangles them.

If we want to turn America around, this is a great place to start.

Just like virtually everything else, our families are collapsing, and the path that we are on clearly leads to national suicide.

If we don’t want to do it for ourselves, we should at least do it for future generations.  Because if we don’t get things turned around, our children will continue to suffer greatly

The results for children are often grim. Although academics debate about causality, single parenting is strongly related to risk for poverty and lower educational attainment on the part of the child, as well as incarceration among boys and teenage pregnancy among girls. As the share of single-parent households increases, the risk of these adverse outcomes also rises.

Of course these days a lot of young adults don’t want to have children at all.

Our society has trained our young people to view parenthood and family life as undesirable, and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the U.S. fertility rate has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded

The US fertility rate dropped for the fourth straight year in 2018, and has fallen approximately 15% since 2007, according to the National Center for Health Statistics – which reports that there were 59.1 births for every 1,000 women of childbearing age.

In total, 3,791,712 births were recorded across the country last year – extending a steep decline that began during the 2008 Recession, according to the New York Times.

As one user in Reddit’s “Childfree” forum notes: “Babies are expensive, and we’re all broke,” to which another user replied “Also, pregnancy and its effects on the body are gross and not worth it.”

Incredibly, our fertility rate is now actually below replacement level.

That means that we aren’t even producing enough babies to replace ourselves at this point.

There is no future for any society that does not value children, marriage and family.  You can’t show me one example in human history of any society that has ever thrived for an extended period of time without cherishing those institutions.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what we need to do.  Unfortunately, most of the country is running completely in the opposite direction as fast as they can.

If we continue to go down this road, the institution of the family is going to continue to collapse in the United States, and there is no possible way that America will ever be great again as long as that is happening.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Americans Are Lonely, Miserable And Depressed – The Legacy Of A Society That Has Rejected Family, Faith And Patriotism

What in the world has happened to us?  Once upon a time, America was made up of tightly-knit communities that were united by family, faith and patriotism, but now we are more isolated than ever before.  Of course one of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that we are all spending countless hours staring at screens instead of interacting with real people, and this is something that I covered in a previous article.  However, our fundamental beliefs are also significantly shaping how we behave.  For the past couple of generations, we have de-emphasized family, faith and patriotism as a nation, and instead we have become an extremely “me-centered” society that is primarily focused on doing whatever makes ourselves happy in the moment.  But this single-minded pursuit of individual happiness has resulted in much of the country being perpetually mired in loneliness, depression and/or addiction.

When you look at the numbers, they truly are startling.  For example, a recent survey that was conducted by Cigna found that almost half of all Americans feel lonely

Nearly half of Americans are lonely, according to a survey of 20,000 people across America by Cigna, which used the well-regarded UCLA Loneliness Scale to measure responses. Indeed 46% said they sometimes or always feel alone and 47% say they sometimes or always feel left out.

And other surveys have produced numbers that are even more alarming.  A Harris Poll that was conducted a few years ago actually discovered that 72 percent of all Americans “experience loneliness”…

The survey of more than 2,000 Americans conducted by the Harris Poll last month on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, showed that almost three-quarters (72 percent) of Americans experience loneliness. And for many, it’s not just a once-in-a-while occurrence — one-third said they feel lonely at least once a week.

Of course this is commonly known as “the happiest time of the year”, but for many it just magnifies their loneliness.

People see love, warmth and community modeled in television commercials and in Hallmark movies, and they assume that most people out there must be living lives like that.

Sadly, that is not true at all.  What we see on our televisions are echoes of the way that America used to be, and many of us would love to see that type of culture make a roaring comeback.

But for now, America is a very, very lonely place, and this reality is reflected in a song that was just released by one of our most popular pop singers

Mabel, the singer behind the hit “Don’t Call Me Up,” has a new track for those who struggle with loneliness during the holidays.

Titled “Loneliest Time of Year,” Mabel captured how for some people, the holidays can heighten feelings like loneliness, loss and depression. In the song, released Friday, she sings lines like, “Sorry I’m not so merry/But I feel like this yearly/Christmas time isn’t my vibe/Brings no joy into my life” and “If I’m feeling lonely/I can’t be the only one.”

Yes, millions of American families will gather during the holidays, but way too many of those gatherings are filled with bitterness, resentment, strife and discord.

In fact, another new survey has found that the average American only needs 3 hours and 54 minutes “before they start to feel sick of their families”

The holidays are supposed to be a time to come together with family and celebrate, but a new survey finds that most Americans can barely get through an evening with their family before needing a break. A total of 2,000 Americans who usually travel to visit family during the holidays took part in the research, and 75% say they will inevitably need to get away from their relatives and indulge in some much needed “me time.”

In fact, it only takes respondents an average of three hours and 54 minutes before they start to feel sick of their families.

This isn’t how it is supposed to be.

We were created to love and to be loved.  And when you remove love from the equation, people become very miserable quite rapidly.

In America today, “deaths of despair” are happening at the highest rate in all of U.S. history.  The following information comes directly from the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee

Anne Case and Angus Deaton famously chronicled a dramatic rise among middle-aged non-Hispanic whites since 1999 in “deaths of despair”—deaths by suicide, drug and alcohol poisoning, and alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis.1 The Social Capital Project has extended Case and Deaton’s research to cover the full American population as far back as available data permit: to 1900 in some cases, and to 1959 or 1968 in others. We present here a snapshot of the long-term trends in deaths of despair. We also attach our full dataset for use in future research, including results broken down by age, sex, and race.

Mortality from deaths of despair far surpasses anything seen in America since the dawn of the 20th century. (The trend for middle-aged whites reveals a more dramatic rise but only goes back continuously to 1959.) The recent increase has primarily been driven by an unprecedented epidemic of drug overdoses, but even excluding those deaths, the combined mortality rate from suicides and alcohol-related deaths is higher than at any point in more than 100 years.

So it would appear that our very unhappy nation is rapidly becoming even unhappier.

And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what this is happening.

As a society, we decided that marriage wasn’t important.  So now we have one of the lowest marriage rates and one of the highest divorce rates in the entire world.

As a society, we decided that children weren’t important.  So now our birth rate has dropped below replacement level and a third of all U.S. children live in a home without a father.

As a society, we decided that patriotism wasn’t important.  So now the American flag is being banned by some schools as a “divisive symbol” and most of our young people have never even read the entire U.S. Constitution.

As a society, we decided that God wasn’t important.  So now just about every form of evil that you can possibly imagine is exploding in our society, and we are literally on a path that leads to national suicide.

If you feel lonely, miserable or depressed this holiday season, I would definitely encourage you to get my latest book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”.  It is filled with very practical advice that will enable you to start turning things around immediately.  But even more importantly, reach out to those that you love during this holiday season.

Life is way too short to live it alone.

Society would have us believe that those that have the most money are the most “successful”.  But that is not true at all.  In reality, those that love the most are really the most “successful”, and so let us endeavor to be people of great love.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

5 More Signs That The Global Economy Is Careening Toward A Recession

The global economy is already in the worst distress that we have seen since 2008, and it appears that the global slowdown is actually picking up pace as we head into 2020.  And this is happening even though central banks around the world have been cutting interest rates and pumping massive amounts of money into their respective financial systems.  The central bankers appear to be losing control, and it certainly wouldn’t take much of a push for this new crisis to evolve into a complete and utter nightmare.  The U.S. economy hasn’t been hit quite as hard as economies in Asia and Europe have been, but without a doubt things are slowing down here too.  Corporate earnings have been falling quarter after quarter, auto loan delinquencies just hit a record high, the Cass Freight Index has declined for 11 consecutive months, and we just witnessed the largest drop for U.S. industrial production since 2009.  Everywhere around us there is bad economic news, but most Americans are still completely oblivious to what is happening.

In this article, I am going to share even more evidence that a global economic slowdown has already begun.  When you add these numbers to all of the other numbers that I have been sharing in recent weeks, it becomes impossible to deny that something major is taking place.

The following are 5 more signs that the global economy is careening toward a recession…

#1 It is being projected that global auto sales will be down approximately 4 percent this year.  According to CNN, this will be the second consecutive year that global auto sales have fallen…

With only a month left in the year, global auto sales are on track for a 3.1 million drop, about 4%, for the year, according to Fitch. That would be the biggest decline since 2008, when the financial crisis hit, and the second year in a row that sales have fallen. Fitch expects worldwide car sales to total 77.5 million in 2019.

#2 Global trade just keeps falling.  According to Zero Hedge, total global trade has now declined on a year over year basis for four months in a row…

Global trade on a YoY basis contracted by 1.1% in September, marking the fourth consecutive YoY declines and the most extended period of subdued trade since the financial crisis in 2009.

The CPB said supply chain disruptions between the US and China, due mostly to the trade war, were the most significant drag on international trade volumes. US volumes fell 2.1% in September MoM. Though in China, imports plunged 6.9% MoM.

As you can see from those first two examples, we keep witnessing things happen that we haven’t seen since the last financial crisis.  Over the past few months, I have used phrases such as “since 2008” and “since 2009” over and over again.  We literally have not seen economic numbers this bad since the last recession, and we are still in the very early phases of this new downturn.

And in some cases, the numbers are actually even worse than anything that we saw during the last recession, and that brings us to our next sign…

#3 Chinese industrial profits just fell by the largest percentage ever recorded

China Industrial Enterprises total profits collapsed in October to CNY427.5bn from CNY575.6bn in September – a 9.9% YoY plunge, the biggest drop on record.

In fact, China’s Industrial sector has seen annual declines in its profits for 4 of the last 6 months.

The trade war has hit the Chinese economy really hard, but it doesn’t look like a trade deal will happen any time soon.

#4 U.S. consumer confidence has now fallen for four months in a row

Consumer confidence dipped for a fourth straight month in November as economic conditions weaken toward the end of 2019, data released Tuesday by The Conference Board shows.

The board’s consumer confidence index dipped to 125.5 this month. That’s down from 126.1 in October. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the index to rise to 126.6.

This wasn’t supposed to happen, and if it keeps happening that is going to have important implications for the 2020 election.

#5 Even the wealthy are cutting back on their spending.  According to Yahoo Finance, this is a continuation of a trend that we have been seeing for the past three quarters…

Spending by the top 10% fell 1% in the second quarter from the same period last year, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by Moody’s Analytics. And a four-quarter average of outlays by the high earners has slipped on an annual basis the past three quarters, marking the first such declines since the Great Recession of 2007-09.

In recent years, global central banks have engaged in unprecedented intervention in an attempt to stave off another crisis, and for a while their efforts appeared to be successful.

But just because the coming crisis was delayed does not mean that it was canceled.

In fact, over the past few years our long-term financial problems have actually gotten a lot worse.  We are facing the biggest debt bubble in the history of the planet, global financial markets are more primed for a crash than they have ever been before, and civil unrest is breaking out all over the world.  The stage is certainly set for “the perfect storm” that I keep talking about, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what is coming.

In all the time that I have been writing about the global economy, things have never looked more ominous then they do right now.

So buckle up and hold on tight, because it certainly looks like we are in for a very bumpy ride in the months ahead.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Black Friday Is Coming, And 48 Million Americans Still Have Holiday Debt From Last Year

The biggest shopping day of the year is almost here, and marketers are working hard trying to extract as much money from U.S. consumers as possible.  Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get consumers to open up their wallets, because many of them are already drowning in debt.  As a society, we have been trained to think of this as “the happiest time of the year”, and for many Americans the most important part of the holiday season is opening presents on Christmas morning.  So there is a tremendous amount of pressure to spend a lot of money on presents, but this often leads to high levels of credit card debt.  In fact, a survey that was just released discovered that 48 million Americans “are still paying off credit card debt from last holiday season”

The holidays can be hard: cooking elaborate meals, facing frigid temperatures, making travel plans that please everyone.

Overspending, however, is too easy. In fact, about 48 million Americans are still paying off credit card debt from last holiday season, according to a NerdWallet survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

Sadly, some of those consumers will end up paying the credit card companies more than twice what those Christmas presents originally cost, and it can be exceedingly difficult to ever get ahead when you are trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of debt.

So why do people do it?

Well, according to one financial therapist many Americans are chasing an “emotional experience” this time of the year…

Gift-buying requires money, time and energy when you may already feel overwhelmed, says Los Angeles-based financial therapist Amanda Clayman. During the holidays, “we’re chasing a sort of emotional experience,” she says. Think: the love and happiness of a Hallmark movie.

But feelings of grief or longing may be more realistic. “This is a sad and lonely time for many people,” says Sarah Newcomb, behavioral economist for Morningstar. Shopping (for anything or everything) can be a convenient coping mechanism.

We want what we see on television, but what we see on television is not real.

In the end, many Americans leave the holiday season feeling deeply disappointed, because what they were chasing was just an illusion.

Yes, some wealthy families will literally have hundreds of presents under their Christmas trees this holiday season, but most American families are deeply struggling these days.

In fact, over two million of us are actually living without basic necessities such as “running water or indoor plumbing”.  The following comes from Daisy Luther

A new report says that more than 2 million Americans in West Virginia, Alabama, Texas and the Navajo Nation Reservation in the Southwest are living without clean running water or indoor plumbing. They’re drinking from polluted streams. They’re carrying buckets of the same water home for washing. They’re urinating and defecating outside with no wastewater treatment.

The gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow, and at this point the wealthiest 0.1 percent of all Americans now have as much wealth as the poorest 90 percent of all Americans combined.

Let that sink in for a moment.

That is a recipe for societal disaster, and it is getting worse with each passing year.

A big reason for this is because the Federal Reserve has been artificially pumping up the financial markets, and on Monday stocks hit yet another all-time high

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit all-time closing highs as they rose 0.8% to 3,133.64 and 1.3% to 8,632.49, respectively. Both indexes also notched intraday records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also had a record close, gaining 190.85 points, or 0.5% to 28,066.47.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the record, saying: “Enjoy!”

But what most Americans don’t understand is that 84 percent of all stock market wealth is owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans.

Of course the stock market bubble won’t last indefinitely.  We are already in an earnings recession, and that earnings recession is expected to continue in the fourth quarter

Earnings in the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.75%  are now projected to decline 1.51% in the fourth quarter from the year before, according to a FactSet computation of analysts’ average forecasts for individual companies. An earnings recession is defined as two quarters or more of consecutive year-over-year declines, and earnings for S&P 500 components dipped in the first two quarters of 2019 and are all but certain to do so again in the third quarter — with nearly 95% of calendar third-quarter reports posted, earnings have dropped 2.34%, the biggest decline so far this year.

And about 75 percent of the time, an earnings recession leads into a full-blown recession for the economy as a whole

Three-fourths (75%) of earnings recessions since World War II have morphed into economic recessions, said CFRA Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall, who told Market Watch that he has been “scratching his head” trying to reconcile analyst pessimism around earnings with continued stock-market rallies.

So the truth is that those that are celebrating what the stock market is doing are not likely to be celebrating for too much longer.

And every day we continue to get more bad news from the real economy.  For example, we just learned that the largest maker of truck engines in the United States will be laying off about 2,000 workers

Those market trends are now impacting Cummins, a Columbus, Ind., manufacturer of heavy equipment. It’s the largest manufacturer of Class 8 truck engines, claiming a 38.3% market share in 2018 over competitors like Daimler and Volvo/Mack.

Cummins spokesperson Jon Mills confirmed to Business Insider that the company, which employs some 62,610 globally, will reduce its global workforce by about 2,000. Those layoffs will be complete by the first quarter of 2020, he said.

As a “perfect storm” overtakes America, many believe that this will be the last “normal” holiday season that Americans will be able to enjoy.

It has become exceedingly clear that very hard times are coming, and quite a few experts believe that the crisis that is ahead will be even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

So enjoy the time that you are able to spend with your family and friends over the coming weeks, because major changes are already starting to happen, and our nation will soon be dealing with one major headache after another.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Brace For Impact! The U.S. Economy Is Going Down, And It Is Going Down Hard…

I have so many bad economic numbers to share with you that I don’t even know where to start.  I had anticipated that the U.S. economic slowdown would accelerate during the fourth quarter of 2019, and that is precisely what has happened.  The Federal Reserve is trying to do all that it can to keep us from officially slipping into a recession, and the federal government is literally spending money as if tomorrow will never come, but all of that intervention has not been enough to reverse our economic momentum.  We are really starting to see conditions begin to deteriorate very rapidly now, and 2020 is already shaping up to be the most pivotal year for the U.S. economy since 2008.

Let me start my analysis by discussing how U.S. consumers are doing right now.  According to CBS News, a major new study that was just released found that 70 percent of all Americans are struggling financially…

Many Americans remain in precarious financial shape even as the economy continues to grow, with 7 of 10 saying they struggling with at least one aspect of financial stability, such as paying bills or saving money.

The findings come from a survey of more than 5,400 Americans from the Financial Health Network, a nonprofit financial services consultancy. The project, which started a year ago, is aimed at assessing people’s financial health by asking about debt, savings, bills and wages, among other issues.

That sure doesn’t sound like a “booming economy”, does it?

And even though things are already really tough for millions upon millions of American families, it appears that things are rapidly getting worse.  In fact, we just witnessed the largest decline for the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index since 2008

Despite stocks soaring to record highs, The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort index fell last week to 58.0 from 59.1 a week earlier, and has now plunged 5.4 points in three weeks, the biggest such drop since 2008

Yes, the employment situation in this country is still relatively stable for the moment, but the truth is that most of the “jobs” that have been “created” in recent years actually pay very little.  If you can believe it, 58 million jobs in the United States currently pay less than $793 a week

There are now roughly 105 million production and nonsupervisory jobs in the U.S. That’s 83 percent of all private sector jobs. And more than half of them — 58 million — pay less than the average weekly U.S. wage of $793. Many of these jobs don’t offer health care or other benefits.

These are the best jobs that many Americans can find and the most hours they can get.

And I discussed in a previous article, 50 percent of all U.S. workers currently make less than $33,000 a year.

In recent years, many families have increasingly turned to debt in order to maintain their “middle class lifestyles”, but now a lot of those debts are starting to go bad.

In fact, the New York Fed just announced that serious auto loan delinquencies in the United States have hit a brand new record high.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

Serious auto-loan delinquencies – auto loans that are 90 days or more past due – in the third quarter of 2019, after an amazing trajectory, reached a historic high of $62 billion, according to data from the New York Fed today

Do you remember the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008?

Well, a very similar thing is happening right now with auto loans.

Meanwhile, the bad economic numbers just keep rolling in.  Here are a few new data points that we have gotten since my last article…

-We just witnessed the worst decline for U.S. industrial production since 2009.

-The Cass Freight Index has just fallen for the 11th month in a row.

-Sears has announced that they will be laying off hundreds of workers as they continue to close stores at a very rapid pace.

At this point, it is going to be a real challenge to keep U.S. GDP growth above zero for the fourth quarter.  If you can believe it, the latest forecast from the Atlanta Fed is projecting a fourth quarter growth rate of just 0.3 percent…

The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2019 is 0.3 percent on November 15, down from 1.0 percent on November 8. After this morning’s retail trade releases from the U.S. Census Bureau, and this morning’s industrial production report from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the nowcasts of fourth-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth and fourth-quarter real gross private domestic investment growth decreased from 2.1 percent and -2.3 percent, respectively, to 1.7 percent and -4.4 percent, respectively.

That is terrible.

We aren’t talking about 3 percent.  They are projecting growth of “0.3 percent”, and if we slip below zero we could actually be in the beginning of a recession right now without even realizing it yet.

The Federal Reserve has been attempting to bolster the economy by cutting interest rates and by pumping massive amounts of money into the financial system.  They are telling us that this new round of money creation is “not QE”, but from the very beginning I have been pointing out that it really is more quantitative easing, and many in the financial world are starting to acknowledge this reality

After a month of constant verbal gymnastics (and diarrhea from financial pundit sycophants who can’t think creatively or originally and merely parrot their echo chamber in hopes of likes/retweets) by the Fed that the recent launch of $60 billion in T-Bill purchases is anything but QE (whatever you do, don’t call it “QE 4”, just call it “NOT QE” please), one bank finally had the guts to say what was so obvious to anyone who isn’t challenged by simple logic: the Fed’s “NOT QE” is really “QE.”

In a note warning that the Fed’s latest purchase program – whether one calls it QE or NOT QE – will have big, potentially catastrophic costs, Bank of America’s Ralph Axel writes that in the aftermath of the Fed’s new program of T-bill purchases to increase the amount of reserves in the banking system, the Fed made an effort to repeatedly inform markets that this is not a new round of quantitative easing, and yet as the BofA strategist notes, “in important ways it is similar.”

But as I discussed earlier, all of the Fed’s efforts are not working.

No matter how hard they try, they have not been able to reverse our economic momentum.

And many people believe that what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.  In fact, trends forecaster Gerald Celente is convinced that we are heading for “the Greatest Depression”

You think you have a crisis in a country near you now? You haven’t seen anything. When the Greatest Depression hits, people are going to be escaping violence, poverty, corruption — civil wars are happening in front of everybody’s eyes. And you think you’ve got a homeless problem in a city near you? You haven’t seen anything. You are going to see homeless everywhere. This is out of control and it’s going to only get worse as the global economy slows down…

And you know what?

He’s right.

What is coming is going to make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic, and our society is completely and utterly unprepared for what is about to happen.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

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