North America’s Bird Population Is Collapsing – Nearly 3 Billion Birds Have Been Wiped Out Since 1970

All around us, our world is literally in a state of collapse, but most people don’t seem to care.  I spend much of my time writing about the inevitable collapse of our economic and financial systems, but they are only one part of the story.  These days, millions upon millions of us are spending countless hours in this “virtual world” that we have created, and that is preventing many of us from understanding what is really going on in “the real world”.  Where I live, I can literally keep the doors wide open for hours without worrying about bugs coming in, because insect populations are disappearing at a pace that is frightening.  They are calling it “the insect apocalypse”, and some scientists are warning that they could all be gone in 100 years.  And this dramatic decline in the insect population is one of the main reasons why North America’s bird population is collapsing.  In the old days, I remember the singing of birds often greeting me in the morning, but these days I am never awakened by birds.  That might make sense if I lived right in the middle of a major city, but I don’t.  I live in a very rural location, and I do see birds out here, but not nearly as many as I would expect.

Sadly, the scientific evidence is confirming what many of us had feared.  According to a scientific study that was just released, North America’s bird population has fallen by “nearly 3 billion birds since 1970″…

If you’ve noticed fewer birds in your backyard than you used to, you’re not mistaken.

North America has lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970, a study said Thursday, which also found significant population declines among hundreds of bird species, including those once considered plentiful.

On second thought, I don’t know if the term “collapse” is strong enough to describe what we are facing.

In 1970, there were about 10 billion birds in North America.

Now, there are about 7 billion.

When are we finally going to admit that we have a major crisis on our hands?

Hopefully it will be before the count gets to zero.

Overall, we are talking about a total decline of approximately 30 percent

“We saw this tremendous net loss across the entire bird community,” says Ken Rosenberg, an applied conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y. “By our estimates, it’s a 30% loss in the total number of breeding birds.”

Could humanity survive without birds?

Probably, but this is yet another sign that the planetary food chain is in the process of totally breaking down.  Despite all of our advanced technology, we are not going to survive without an environment that supports life, and at this moment that environment is being destroyed at a staggering pace.

According to the lead author of the study, the evidence they compiled “showed pervasive losses among common birds across all habitats, including backyard birds”…

“Multiple, independent lines of evidence show a massive reduction in the abundance of birds,” said study lead author Ken Rosenberg, a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy, in a statement. “We expected to see continuing declines of threatened species. But for the first time, the results also showed pervasive losses among common birds across all habitats, including backyard birds.”

I like having birds in my backyard.  In fact, I wish that I had a whole lot more.

Two of the largest factors being blamed for this stunning decline are “toxic pesticides” and “insect decline”.  We have already talked about the “insect apocalypse” which is raging all around us, but I should say a few words about pesticides.  Yes, they may help to protect our crops and our lawns, but in the process we are literally poisoning everything.

And that includes ourselves.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body”, and many believe that this is one of the reasons why cancer rates have skyrocketed in recent decades.

These days it seems like just about everyone knows at least one person with cancer.  If you are one of those rare people that doesn’t know a single person with cancer, please leave a comment below, because I would love to hear your story.  It has been estimated that one out of every three women and one out of every two men will get cancer in their lifetimes, but considering the rate that we are currently polluting our environment those estimates may be too conservative.

Without a doubt, several of the big pesticide companies are some of the most evil corporations on the entire planet, and yet most Americans don’t really seem to care about the death and destruction that they have unleashed all around us.

As with so many other things, this is yet another example that shows that we have no future on the path that we are currently on, and the clock is ticking.

Don’t you want a world in which the birds sing to you in the morning?  Pete Marra, one of the scientists involved in the study, told the press that a number of bird species “that were very common when I was a kid” are among those being hit the hardest…

“We can all talk through the stories about there being fewer and fewer birds, but it’s not until you really put the numbers on it that you can really grasp the magnitude of these results,” Marra said. “We’re now seeing common species that have declined, things like red-winged blackbirds and grackles and meadowlarks — species that I grew up with, that were very common when I was a kid. That is the most surprising and most disturbing part.”

Everywhere around us, we can see decay, decline or collapse.  This stunning drop in the bird population is just one more example.

But just like with so many other issues, most people don’t really care, and most people certainly don’t want to change.

So in the end we will reap what we have sown, and it will not be pleasant.

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.

As China Settles In For A Long Trade War, Economic Pressure On Trump Continues To Grow

The trade war between the United States and China is increasingly weighing on the global economy, but unfortunately it does not appear that it will end any time soon.  Many pundits in the U.S. originally believed that the trade war would be short because the economic pain would be too much for the Chinese to handle.  But the truth is that the Chinese are not nearly as motivated by short-term concerns as we are.  They have always been long-term planners, and they are not afraid to set goals that may take multiple generations to achieve.  So they are not going to allow an angry American president that may be voted out of office by the end of next year to greatly alter their long-term economic strategies.

If an acceptable agreement could have been reached with Trump, the Chinese would have jumped at that opportunity.  But right now the two sides are so far apart that they are basically not even on the same playing field, and any additional “negotiations” are not going to change that.  However, the Chinese are likely to try to keep talks with the Trump administration alive in an attempt to prevent the trade war from escalating even more.  In essence, the Chinese are trying to minimize the damage while running out the clock on the Trump presidency.

So for China, this trade war has become an exercise in endurance, and this is something that a Fox Business article recently discussed…

Researchers from Deutsche Bank wrote a note over the weekend, explaining how they believe China appears to have shifted its strategy from a focus on “resolution to one of endurance.”

“We think China is neither aiming to quickly reach a trade deal, nor trying to hit back at the U.S. as hard as it can,” Deutsche Bank China Economist Yi Xiong wrote in a report. “Rather, China seems to have internalized the trade war as a given fact, and is trying to preserve China’s economic resilience under rising tariffs.”

Here in the U.S., we have become quite accustomed to sacrificing our long-term prosperity in order to avoid short-term pain, but the Chinese are simply not going to do that in this case.

Instead, they are going to work extremely hard to do what they can to bolster the Chinese economy internally while they wait for a more “reasonable” U.S. president to get elected.  The following comes from the South China Morning Post

China will “enhance countercyclical measures in macroeconomic policies … to ensure sufficient liquidity and reasonable growth in credit,” according to a statement by the government’s Financial Stability and Development Commission on Sunday. The wording marked a subtle change from previous policy statements that called only for “appropriate” fine-tuning of monetary policy.

The statement did not mention the trade war with the US, but included specific guidelines on what China should do to manage its economy in the coming months. It urged financial institutions to help sell local government special bonds, with proceeds to be used for government-backed investment projects, while it also told local authorities to “fully tap investment potential”.

Unlike Chinese officials, President Trump has an upcoming election that he must deal with, and the longer this trade war persists the worse his re-election chances are going to become.

As I detailed yesterday, signs of economic trouble are erupting all around us, and the pain from this trade war is only going to become more intense as each new month passes.

So Trump is going to become increasingly desperate to get China to come to an agreement, and that may lead to some very rash decisions.  For example, it is being reported that he “wanted to double tariff rates on Chinese goods” after the Chinese responded to recent U.S. tariffs by imposing some of their own…

President Donald Trump wanted to double tariff rates on Chinese goods last month after Beijing’s latest retaliation in a boiling trade war before settling on a smaller increase, three sources told CNBC.

The president was outraged after he learned Aug. 23 that China had formalized plans to slap duties on $75 billion in U.S. products in response to new tariffs from Washington on Sept. 1. His initial reaction, communicated to aides on a White House trade call held that day, was to suggest doubling existing tariffs, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Unfortunately for Trump, no amount of pressure is going to get the Chinese to budge.

Yes, the Chinese will “talk” to U.S. officials as a delaying tactic, but they have already decided that they will never accept the sort of deal that Trump wants.

Meanwhile, our economic numbers just continue to deteriorate.  On Tuesday, we learned that a key measure of U.S. manufacturing just fell to the lowest level in three years

A key U.S. factory gauge unexpectedly contracted for the first time since 2016, sending stocks and bond yields lower and boosting expectations for interest-rate cuts as global manufacturing woes deepen.

The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers index fell to 49.1 in August, weaker than all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists, data released Tuesday showed. Figures below 50 indicate the manufacturing economy is generally shrinking. The group’s gauge of new orders dropped to a more than seven-year low, while the production index hit the lowest since late 2015.

In response to that number and more troubling news about the trade war, U.S. stocks were sharply down

Stocks fell on Tuesday, the first trading day of a historically tough month, after the world’s two largest economies began imposing new tariffs on each other’s goods. Weak manufacturing data also dented investor sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 285.26 points lower, or 1.1%, at 26,118.02. The S&P 500 lost 0.7% to end the day at 2,906.27 while the Nasdaq Composite pulled back 1.1% to 7,874.16.

We have reached an absolutely critical moment in modern American history.  The largest financial bubble in our entire history is on the verge of bursting, and many believe that we could be on the precipice of an economic downturn even worse than what we experienced in 2008 and 2009.

A trade deal with China would greatly help the short-term outlook, but the Chinese are not willing to give Trump what he desires.  So the only way one will happen is if President Trump completely caves in, but I don’t see that happening.

That means that a tremendous amount of pain is ahead, and the American people are completely unprepared for that.

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.

An Indicator With A 100% Perfect Track Record Of Predicting Recessions Says That Another One Is Coming

You can believe that we will somehow beat the odds this time if you want, but history is completely against you.  One of the biggest reasons why there is so much anxiety on Wall Street right now is because of how the yield curve is behaving.  We have seen yield curve inversions before each of the last seven U.S. recessions, and now it has happened again.  Perhaps this helps to explain why insiders are dumping stocks right now as if there will be no tomorrow.  If you were looking for a giant waving red flag to tell you that it is time to run for the exits, it doesn’t get much better than this.  This week, we watched the yield curve do something that it hasn’t done in 12 years

The spread between the 10-year Treasury yield and the 2-year rate fell to negative 5 basis points, its lowest level since 2007. This is called a yield curve inversion. Experts fear it because in the past it has preceded recessionary periods. The 3-month Treasury bill rate also traded higher than the 30-year bond yield.

“The primary thing is yields are going down and going down with some acceleration,” said Art Cashin, the director of floor operations at UBS.

In addition, the spread between 3 month Treasury bonds and 10 year Treasury bonds just hit negative 50 basis points.  We haven’t seen that happen since March 2007.

And as David Rosenberg has noted, when the spread between 3 month Treasury bonds and 10 year Treasury bonds goes negative for at least three months, we have a recession 100% of the time…

We now have had three months of a 3-mo/10-yr yield curve inversion. The track record this has had in predicting recessions: 100%.

Yes, it is theoretically possible that this indicator could be proven wrong this time.

But do you really want to bet against an indicator with a track record of 100% accuracy?

Plus, we have a trade war with China to deal with this time around.  Hopeful comments from President Trump briefly bolstered the markets on Monday, but over in China prominent voices continue to pour cold water on the notion that a deal will happen any time soon.  Here is an example from Tuesday

Sentiment was also dampened after Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times in China, tweeted that China is “putting so much emphasis on trade talks,” adding that “it’s more and more difficult for the US to press China to make concessions” as China’s economy becomes increasingly driven by its domestic growth. China announced measures aimed at boosting consumption, including potentially removing car-buying restrictions.

Unless one side chooses to fold like a 20 dollar suit, there isn’t going to be a resolution to this trade war any time in the near future, and that is going to mean a tremendous amount of pain for the U.S., China and the entire global economy.

Another indication that things are about to get bad is the fact that investors are starting to flock to precious metals.

Gold and silver are considered to be “safe haven assets” during a financial crisis, and right now gold and silver are both surging

Gold prices are moderately higher in early U.S. trading, while the silver market is again sharply higher and hit another two-year high overnight. Bullish technical postures in both metals continue to invite the chart-based buyers to climb on board the long side. A weaker U.S. dollar index is also supportive to the precious metals markets today. December gold futures were last up $4.60 an ounce at 1,541.90. December Comex silver prices were last up $0.295 at $18.075 an ounce.

But for most hard working Americans, it is going to be far more important to build up an emergency fund as we head deeper into this new crisis, and this is something that I have written about repeatedly.  The reason why so many Americans lost their homes during the last recession was because they were living right on the edge financially.  It is imperative that you have a financial cushion so that you can pay your basic expenses when things start getting really hard.

Unfortunately, it is often young people that get the hardest during an economic downturn, and this is something that Annie Lowrey discussed in her most recent article

Recessions are never good for anyone. A sputtering economy means miserable financial, emotional, and physical-health consequences for everyone from infants to retirees. But the next one—if it happens, when it starts happening — stands to hit this much-maligned generation particularly hard. For adults between the ages of 22 and 38, after all, the last recession never really ended.

Millennials got bodied in the downturn, have struggled in the recovery, and are now left more vulnerable than other, older age cohorts. As they pitch toward middle age, they are failing to make it to the middle class, and are likely to be the first generation in modern economic history to end up worse off than their parents. The next downturn might make sure of it, stalling their careers and sucking away their wages right as the millennials enter their prime earning years.

I understand that a lot of people may not want to hear this, but every economic indicator is telling us that a U.S. recession is coming, and many experts believe that it will be far worse than the last one.

If you prepare in advance for what is coming, that is going to help to take fear out of the equation.  Because when things get really crazy, it is those that don’t understand what is happening that are going to give in to fear, depression and despair.

We have not seen an economic environment like this in a decade, and there is no reason to believe that a miracle is going to come along and rescue us from the storm that is now looming above us.

The months ahead promise to be quite “interesting”, and not in a good way.

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.

A Critical Threshold Has Just Been Crossed, And Things Will NEVER Be The Same Again…

Just when things seemed to be settling down a little bit, our conflict with China has suddenly escalated to a dangerous new phase.  This is not simply just a “trade war” any longer, and our relationship with China will never be the same again.  As you will see below, President Trump just referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as our “enemy”, and this is something that the Chinese are going to take extremely seriously.  In China, the national leader is a representation of the government as a whole, and the government as a whole is a representation of the entire county.  So to the Chinese people, what Trump just said will be interpreted as “the United States and China are now enemies”.  Of course for Trump everything would be forgiven tomorrow if the Chinese totally caved in to his demands and started saying all sorts of nice things about him, but for the Chinese what has transpired in recent months will be remembered for generations.  President Trump has insulted their national honor over and over again, and that sort of thing may not mean much to us here in the western world anymore, but over in China their sense of honor is central to who they are as a people.  After everything that has already been said and done, there will be no going back, and we are now facing a future in which the United States and China will be very bitter enemies.

In response to previously announced U.S. tariffs, China stunned global markets when it announced a new wave of tariffs on U.S. goods early on Friday

The trade war between the U.S. and China escalated further Friday as Beijing announced a new set of tariffs on American products, sending the stock market plunging.

The China State Council announced it would impose tariffs ranging from 5% to 10% on an additional $75 billion in U.S. goods, according to state media outlet Global Times.

After Trump learned of this, he hit the ceiling, and he immediately went on a Twitter rant in which he pledged to hit Chinese goods with even higher tariffs

For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade, Intellectual Property Theft, and much more.

Our Country has been losing HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year to China, with no end in sight.

Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer.

As President, I can no longer allow this to happen! In the spirit of achieving Fair Trade, we must Balance this very unfair Trading Relationship.

China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product (politically motivated!).

Starting on October 1st, the 250 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, currently being taxed at 25%, will be taxed at 30%.

Additionally, the remaining 300 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, that was being taxed from September 1st at 10%, will now be taxed at 15%. Thank you for your attention to this matter!

In addition, Trump “hereby ordered” U.S. corporations “to immediately start looking for an alternative to China”

Trump then tweeted that American companies “are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” He did not immediately detail the authority he thought he could use to compel firms to leave China.

When I first saw that I could hardly believe what I was seeing, and you may have had the same reaction.

Can Trump actually do that?

Well, no, the truth is that he can’t.

He can certainly encourage U.S. businesses to leave China, but as CNN has pointed out, he doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally order all of our companies to leave an entire country…

Here’s the thing: Donald Trump can’t order American business to do anything. There’s a reason the business world is known as the “private sector” — because it’s not owned or controlled by the government (aka the “public sector.”) We don’t have state-run industry (or media). The President of the United States can’t “order” privately held business to do, well, much of anything.

And on top of everything else, President Trump posted another tweet in which he called Chinese President Xi Jinping our “enemy”.  The following comes directly from Trump’s Twitter account

As usual, the Fed did NOTHING! It is incredible that they can “speak” without knowing or asking what I am doing, which will be announced shortly. We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed. I will work “brilliantly” with both, and the U.S. will do great…

….My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?

Any hopes for a trade deal with China during the Trump administration were already dead, but this has put even more nails in the coffin.

When the outlook for the U.S. economy was brighter, getting a trade deal with China done was not so critical for Trump, but now things have dramatically changed.

At this point, even the White House’s own internal forecasts are showing “that the economy could slow markedly over the next year”

Top White House advisers notified President Trump earlier this month that some internal forecasts showed that the economy could slow markedly over the next year, stopping short of a recession but complicating his path to reelection in 2020.

The private forecast, one of several delivered to Trump and described by three people familiar with the briefing, contrasts sharply with the triumphant rhetoric the president and his surrogates have repeatedly used to describe the economy.

Things just continue to get even bleaker.  U.S. manufacturing just contracted for the very first time since 2009, and the financial markets are starting to figure out that there aren’t any promising solutions on the horizon.

On Friday, the trade war turmoil greatly spooked investors and the Dow ended the day down more than 600 points

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 623.34 points lower, or 2.4% at 25,628.90. The S&P 500 slid 2.6% to close at 2,847.11. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 3% to end the day at 7,751.77. The losses brought the Dow’s decline for August to more than 4%.

The major indexes also posted weekly losses for the fourth straight time. The Dow dropped about 1% this week while the S&P 500 pulled back 1.4%. The Nasdaq lost 1.8%.

As I noted at the end of last month, the stock market started to decline in July, and now it has fallen every single week here in August.  Just like in “The Beginning Of The End”, we are potentially facing a scenario in which we experience great economic and financial turmoil during the second half of the year.

Over and over again, I have kept warning my readers that our relations with China were going to get progressively worse.  We have been expecting this for a long time, but most Americans still do not grasp the implications of this crisis.

This conflict between the United States and China is going to change everything.  An extraordinary amount of pain is heading our way, and our society is completely and utterly unprepared to handle it.

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.

Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index Just Suffered The Biggest One Month Decline In History

We continue to get more indications that U.S. economic conditions are going to deteriorate rapidly during the second half of this year.  Yesterday, I reported on a brand new survey which found that 69 percent of U.S. CFOs believe that a recession is coming “by the end of 2020”, and today we learned that Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index has fallen dramatically.  In fact, according to CNBC the sudden drop in the index was “the largest one-month decline on record”…

A reading of the economy from Morgan Stanley is signaling “June gloom.”

Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index, which captures turning points in the economy, fell by 32 points in June, to a level of 13 from a level of 45 in May. This drop is the largest one-month decline on record and the lowest level since December 2008 during the financial crisis, according to the firm.

At this point, I really don’t see how anyone can possibly claim that the U.S. economy is doing well.  We also just learned that U.S. unemployment claims have now risen for three weeks in a row, and the trade war is clearly beginning to take an immense toll on the economy.

This week, Walmart, Costco and hundreds of other companies jointly sent President Trump a letter that essentially begged him to end this trade war with China.  The following comes from CNN

More than 600 companies and industry trade associations — including Walmart, Costco, Target, Gap, Levi Strauss and Foot Locker — wrote to the White House urging Trump to remove levies on China and end the ongoing trade war.

“We know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative, and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families, and the US economy,” the companies said in the letter. “An escalated trade war is not in the country’s best interest, and both sides will lose.”

Of course this is exactly what I have been telling my readers for a long time.

There aren’t going to be any winners in this trade war, and anyone that suggests that there will be is just being delusional.

If there had been a quick resolution to the trade war, large corporations could have perhaps swallowed the increased costs that they are facing.  But since it appears that this trade war will be with us for the foreseeable future, big companies are going to be forced to pass those costs on to consumers, and some top executives are openly admitting this

“At the end of the day, prices will go up on things,” Costco (COST) chief financial officer Richard Galanti told analysts last month. Dollar General (DG) Chief Financial Officer John Garratt also said the company’s low-income shopping base “will be facing higher prices as 2019 progresses.”

If prices go up but our paychecks stay the same, that means that our standard of living is going to go down.

And as I noted yesterday, it is being projected that U.S. corporate earnings will be way down in the second quarter, so the big corporations are definitely suffering as well.

Meanwhile, China is warning of substantial damage to their economy too, and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce just told the press that this trade war could lead to a global recession

Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Deng told a Beijing press conference on Thursday that “there will be no winner in the trade war, which could cause a recession in the United States and global economies.”

The ministry did not disclose US investment growth in China for the month of May alone, but the plunge seems to have coincided with the collapse of trade talks between Beijing and Washington.

Of course we were almost certainly heading toward a global recession anyway, but the trade war is definitely accelerating our problems.

At this point, global trade has already collapsed to levels not seen since the depths of the last recession.  Manufacturing numbers are plunging all over the world, and we just got some brand new numbers from the U.K. that are extremely alarming

Production output in the UK dropped by 2.7% in April from March, and GDP fell by 0.4% in just one month, according to the latest figures by the Office of National Statistics. The manufacturing sector provided the largest contribution to the downturn, with the manufacturing index plunging 3.9% in April, from March, its biggest monthly fall since June 2002.

June 2002 was 17 years ago.

Not even during the last recession did we witness a monthly decline of that magnitude.

The speed at which the global economy is now deteriorating is breathtaking, and the crisis that so many thought had passed us by could actually be right on the doorstep.

And of course most Americans are completely and utterly unprepared for any sort of an economic crisis.  Today, 59 percent of us are living paycheck to paycheck, and a survey that was just released discovered that the financial situation of most Americans has not improved since 2007

Bankrate surveyed 2,740 adults across the country. Of those surveyed, 2,315 were older than 18 when the recession started.

Among people who were adults before the recession hit, 33 percent said their financial situation is “about the same” as it was before 2007, while 23 percent said their situation is worse.

When you add those two numbers together, you get a total of 56 percent of all Americans that say that their financial situation is either “worse” or “about the same” as it was just before the last recession hit.

That isn’t good, and now another major downturn is here.

But of course most Americans assume that everything is going to be just fine.  For most of us, the pain of the last recession is a fading distant memory, and things have been relatively stable for an extended period of time.

So for the moment, most of the population is not too alarmed about what is coming.

Unfortunately, that will soon change in a major way.

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.

This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen: U.S. Employment Growth Just Plunged To The Lowest Level In 9 Years

If the U.S. economy was heading into a recession, we would expect to see a slowdown in the employment numbers, and that is precisely what is happening.  According to payroll processing firm ADP, the U.S. economy only added 27,000 new jobs in May, and that is way below the number that is needed just to keep up with population growth.  Of course some in the mainstream media are attempting to put a positive spin on this, but there really is no denying that this is a truly awful number.  In fact, we have not seen a number this bad in more than 9 years

Job creation skidded to a near-halt in May in another sign that the U.S. economic momentum is slowing.

Companies added just 27,000 new positions during the month, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP and Moody’s Analytics that was well below Dow Jones estimates of 173,000.

The reading was the worst since around the time the economic expansion began and the jobs market bottomed in March 2010 with a loss of 113,000.

9 years is a very long time, but this terrible employment number is perfectly consistent with all of the other horrible economic numbers that have been rolling in lately.

Time after time in recent weeks I have been using phrases such as “since the last recession” to describe what we are witnessing.  The U.S. economy has not been in such rough shape in nearly a decade, and things just keep getting worse.

So how did Wall Street respond to the latest employment news?

Actually, stock prices surged, because investors are super excited about the prospect that the Federal Reserve could soon lower interest rates

Stocks added to strong week-to-date performance on Wednesday as investors grew even more confident that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates this year to reignite an economy wounded by trade battles.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 207.39 points to 25,539.57, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.8% to 2,826.15. The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.6% higher at 7,575.48.

Pushing interest rates all the way to the floor certainly helped the stock market recover after the last recession, but this time around there is a major twist.

The U.S. is currently engaged in a major trade war with China, and the normal tools that the Fed utilizes may not be powerful enough to overcome the negative effects of such a conflict.

And to make things worse, now the U.S. is also starting a trade war with Mexico.  On Wednesday, President Trump made it clear that “not nearly enough” progress had been achieved during negotiations with Mexican officials…

President Donald Trump said “not nearly enough” progress was made in talks with Mexico to mitigate the flow of undocumented migrants and illegal drugs, raising the likelihood that the U.S. will follow through with tariffs next week.

So tariffs will be slapped on Mexican goods starting on Monday, and President Trump seems quite excited about this

“If no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!”

Of course the Mexicans will almost certainly retaliate, and both countries will start seeing higher prices and significant job losses.

In fact, one study has concluded that the U.S. economy could lose more than 400,000 jobs as a result of these tariffs on Mexico.  The following comes from CNN

If the 5% US tariff on all goods from Mexico takes effect and is maintained, more than 400,000 jobs in the United States could be lost, an analysis released this week found.

The tariffs on Mexico, set to go in effect on Monday, would cost Texas alone more than 117,000 jobs, according to the analysis by The Perryman Group, an economic consulting firm. Texas is Mexico’s largest export market, making the two economies closely intertwined.

And the truth is that those numbers could actually be on the low side.

According to Marc Thiessen, a trade war with Mexico would literally put millions of U.S. jobs at risk…

Indeed, Mexican tariffs could be even more devastating for Americans than those imposed on China. Deutsche Bank estimates the tariffs could raise the average price of automobiles sold in the United States by $1,300. Indeed, U.S. and Mexican auto-supply chains are so deeply integrated that many parts cross the border multiple times before they end up in a finished vehicle — which means they would be hit by tariffs multiple times, compounding costs. Ten million U.S. workers’ jobs depend on this supply chain; tariffs would put those jobs at risk, including those of the “forgotten Americans” in the industrial Midwest whose jobs Trump vowed to protect.

We shall see what happens, but the outlook for the U.S. economy for the rest of this year is not good at all, and beyond that things look exceedingly grim.

Hopefully I am wrong, but it certainly appears that a major economic downturn is developing just in time for the 2020 presidential election.

There is one more thing that I would like to mention before I wrap up this article.  This week, a Russian news source reported that Russia and China “will sign an agreement” regarding the use of their own national currencies in bilateral trade with one another…

Russia and China will sign an agreement on possible payments in national currencies. A decree of the Russian government on signing of a relevant agreement with the Chinese side was released on the official portal of legal information on Wednesday.

According to the draft decree approved through that government document, “settlements and payments for goods, service and direct investments between economic entities of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China are made in accordance with the international practice and the legislation of the sides’ states with the use of foreign currency, the Russian currency (rubles) and the Chinese currency (yuan).”

In other words, they are dumping the dollar in favor of their own national currencies when trading with each other.  This is a direct threat to the international dominance of the U.S. dollar, and other countries have been discussing similar moves.

For decades, the U.S. dollar has essentially been a global currency.  More dollars are actually used outside of the United States than within this country, and most Americans don’t realize that.

This has given us some enormous advantages in the global marketplace, and it could be just a matter of time before those advantages begin to disappear.

Things that used to take months or years to happen are now happening in a matter of days.  The pace of change is really picking up, and right now the momentum of events is heading in a direction that is definitely not favorable to the United States.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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.

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