The Numbers Tell Us That The ‘Economic Recovery’ Is Dead And Businesses Are Failing At A Staggering Pace

Even though economic conditions were absolutely awful, during the month of June the mainstream media kept insisting that the U.S. economy was “recovering” and the stock market kept surging on every hint of good news.  But now the “economic recovery” narrative is completely dead, because the numbers clearly show that the U.S. economy is rapidly moving in the wrong direction.  On Thursday, the Labor Department announced that another 1.416 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week.  Prior to this year, the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000, and so we are talking about a level of unemployment that is absolutely catastrophic.  But what is really alarming many analysts is that the number for last week was quite a bit higher than the number for the week before.  Many states are rolling out new restrictions as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to surge, and this is having a huge impact on economic activity.  For months I have been warning that fear of COVID-19 would prevent economic activity from returning to normal levels for the foreseeable future, and that is precisely what has happened.

Overall, more than 52 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits over the past 18 weeks, and that makes this the biggest spike in unemployment in U.S. history by a very wide margin.

In fact, this dwarfs all previous spikes by so much that the others are not even worth mentioning.

Of course it isn’t just the employment numbers that are depressingly bad.  According to Jefferies, in late June 19 percent of all U.S. small businesses were closed, but now that number has risen to 24.5 percent

As of Sunday, 24.5% of small businesses in the United States were closed, according to Jefferies. That is worse than late June, when only 19% were closed. Jefferies pointed to “particular weakness in COVID hot spots” and noted that small business employment had dropped to levels unseen since the end of May.

Just think about that number for a minute.

Nearly a quarter of all small businesses in the entire country are closed.

And the really bad news is that many of them will never end up reopening.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I received a lot of criticism for stating that many of the small businesses that were shutting down at that time would never open again, but over the long-term the numbers have shown that I was correct.

In fact, Yelp says that a whopping 60 percent of the restaurants that were initially listed as “temporarily closed” on their site are now classified as permanently closed…

It’s tough out there for restaurants and other small businesses.

Yelp’s Economic Average report out Wednesday shows exactly how tough: 60 percent of the 26,160 temporarily closed restaurants on the business review site as of July are now permanently shut. Temporary closures are dropping, and permanent shutdowns are increasing.

Fear of COVID-19 is going to cause a large portion of the population to continue to avoid restaurants for as long as this pandemic persists, and it is becoming clear that it is likely to persist for a long time to come.

We are going to lose so many small and independent places to eat.  Many of the big corporate chains that have very deep pockets will survive, at least for a while, but there is simply no replacing what small and independent restaurants mean to our communities.

Bars and clubs are being hit extremely hard as well.  According to Yelp, 44 percent of the bars and clubs on their site that were initially listed as “temporarily closed” have now been shut down on a permanent basis…

Bars and clubs are also closing forever at high rates: 44 percent (as of July) of 5,454 temporarily shuttered bars and other nightlife establishments are shut for good.

Other sectors of the economy are doing relatively better, but the overall outlook for small businesses in America is exceedingly bleak.

In New York City, it is being projected that one-third of all small businesses will never be able to open again…

As many as 76,000 small businesses in New York City – a third of the 230,000 citywide – may never reopen after forced to close during the COVID-19 lockdown, business leaders have warned.

The Partnership for New York City, a not-for-profit organization that connects business leaders with local government, predicted that 76,000 small businesses will never be able to reopen in a report produced by 14 consulting firms.

I know that number is hard to believe, but this is actually happening.

Our politicians want to encourage people “to go back to work”, but for millions upon millions of Americans the jobs that they once had are gone forever.

Air travel is another industry that is being absolutely devastated by this pandemic.  After a modest bounce in June, the number of air passengers is starting to fall again

The resurgence of coronavirus infections is derailing the travel industry’s modest recovery. The number of air passengers processed through TSA security lines fell during the week ended July 20, compared with the prior week, according to Bank of America. This metric is down more than 70% from a year ago.

United (UAL) CEO Scott Kirby told CNBC on Wednesday that the airline doesn’t “expect to get anywhere close to normal until there’s a vaccine that’s been widely distributed to a large portion of the population.”

All of the numbers that I have shared in this article tell us that we are in an economic depression.

Many had hoped that this economic downturn would be short-lived and that a “V-shaped recovery” would commence once the coronavirus lockdowns were lifted.

But instead a resurgence of cases has caused new restrictions to be implemented, and economic activity is slowing down again.

The bottom line is that all of us need to get prepared to weather a long-term economic storm that is going to be incredibly painful.

The last recession was bad, but it isn’t even worth comparing to the times that we are entering now.  All of our lives are being turned upside down, and a lot of people are not going to be able to handle what comes next.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Will This Be “Just A Recession” Or Will It Be “The Next Great Depression”?

As America slowly but surely shuts down from coast to coast, everyone is acknowledging the fact that we are heading into a very serious economic downturn.  Originally, many experts were warning that this coronavirus pandemic could spark a recession, but now some are actually starting to use the “d” word.  Yesterday, I wrote about the government planning document that envisions an 18 month pandemic, multiple “waves” of infections, and “critical shortages” of important supplies.  If that scenario actually plays out, what we will experience will be far, far worse than the “Great Recession” of 2008 and 2009.  So let us hope that a way can be found to slow down the spread of this virus.

At this point, many of our top minds are fearing the worst.  On Thursday, former White House economist Kevin Hassett warned CNN that we could actually see a repeat of the Great Depression…

The widespread shutdown of the American economy because of the coronavirus could spark a repeat of the Great Depression, former Trump economist Kevin Hassett told CNN on Thursday.

The startling warning from a former White House adviser comes as Wall Street banks say the United States faces an historic collapse in GDP and mounting job losses.

Just a few weeks ago, the mainstream media was full of talk about how bright the future looked for the U.S. economy.

But now Hassett is telling us that we could be about to witness the “worst jobs number you ever saw”

Hassett, who left the White House last year and is now a CNN commentator, predicted that when the April jobs report comes out it will be the “worst jobs number you ever saw,” with perhaps two million jobs lost.

That would easily surpass the worst jobs report of the Great Recession, when payrolls plunged by 800,000 during March 2009.

Could you imagine the panic that would cause on Wall Street if we actually do see a job loss of that magnitude?

Of course Hassett is not the only one using such strong language.  A former economic adviser to Barack Obama says that this pandemic “could do more damage to the economy than the financial crisis did”

Jason Furman was a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, serving as deputy director of the National Economics Council from 2009 to 2013, and as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2013 to 2017. He played a key role in designing the administration’s response to the financial crisis and Great Recession. He’s now a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

I’ve spoken with Furman often over the years, and to put it bluntly, I’ve never heard him as alarmed as on Thursday. He believes the coronavirus could do more damage to the economy than the financial crisis did, and that policymakers aren’t even close to designing a large enough response.

Sadly, he is likely to be entirely correct.

In fact, if this pandemic stretches on for many more months it will make what happened in 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

For a long time I have been warning that a recession is coming, but I don’t have to warn about that any longer.  On Thursday, Bank of America boldly declared that the next recession is already here

Bank of America warned investors on Thursday that a coronavirus-induced recession is no longer avoidable — it’s already here.

“We are officially declaring that the economy has fallen into a recession … joining the rest of the world, and it is a deep plunge,” Bank of America U.S. economist Michelle Meyer wrote in a note. “Jobs will be lost, wealth will be destroyed and confidence depressed.”

If you can believe it, Bank of America is actually projecting that the U.S. economy will shrink by 12 percent on an annualized basis in the second quarter, and they are warning that more than 3 million jobs will be lost during this crisis…

Bank of America looked at the labor market as a way to understand the “magnitude of the economic shock.” The firm expects the unemployment rate to nearly double, with roughly 1 million jobs lost each month of the second quarter for a total of 3.5 million.

Actually, if we only lose 3.5 million jobs during the course of this pandemic that should be considered to be a rip-roaring success.

Never before in U.S. history have we witnessed such a widespread economic shutdown.  On Thursday, the governor of Pennsylvania actually ordered almost every business in the entire state to close up shop

Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations by 8 p.m. Thursday in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close their physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the Wolf administration said in a press release.

That means that almost everyone is going to be staying home and virtually all economic activity in the state is going to come to a grinding halt.

There is a good chance that this will slow down the spread of the virus in Pennsylvania temporarily, but unless every other state does the same thing simultaneously, people from other states are just going to keep bringing the virus back in.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott just instituted a whole host of restrictions, but most businesses will continue operating normally

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order limiting public gatherings to 10 people, shutting schools, prohibiting visitors to nursing homes and retirement communities and limiting bars and restaurants to take-out through April 3 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. He also recommended that non-essential state employees telework.

In California, about a third of the state is currently locked down, but the COVID-19 has just continued to spread.

In fact, Governor Gavin Newsom just told the press that he expects more than 25 million people to eventually become infected in his state alone

California estimates that more than half of the state — 25.5 million people — will get the new coronavirus over the next eight weeks, according to a letter sent by Gov. Gavin Newsom to U.S. President Donald Trump.

“In the last 24 hours, we had 126 new COVID-19 cases, a 21 percent increase. In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days,” Newsom wrote in a letter dated Wednesday. Newsom asked Trump to dispatch the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship to the Port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1 to help with the influx of expected cases.

Overall, the number of confirmed cases in the United States has dramatically escalated over the last 48 hours.

As long as the number of confirmed cases continues to explode, the lockdowns will persist and the restrictions on our freedoms will become more severe.

And if this pandemic does end up lasting for 18 months as the government is now projecting, it will paralyze our society to an extent that we have never seen before.

The U.S. economy has fallen off a cliff, and I have a feeling that it has a long, long way to go before it hits bottom.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

Japan’s GDP Is Collapsing, And Experts Are Warning That China Will Be Next

Global economic conditions are really starting to deteriorate quite rapidly.  Economists were projecting that Japan’s GDP would shrink by 3.8 percent on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter, but instead it greatly surpassed expectations by plunging 6.3 percent.  If Japan’s GDP falls again during the first quarter of 2020, and thanks to the coronavirus outbreak that seems very likely, then the world’s third largest economy will officially be in a recession.  But of course the outlook for China is even worse.  At this point, economic activity in China has come to a standstill, and this has thrown global supply chains into a state of chaos.  It certainly appears that the entire global economy will shrink during the first quarter, and that will be the very first time that has happened in more than a decade.  And if this coronavirus outbreak continues to intensify in the months ahead, the economic consequences are going to be absolutely catastrophic.

Even though the experts were anticipating a slowdown in Japan, nobody had any idea that it would be this bad

Japan’s gross domestic product shrank at an annualized pace of 6.3 percent from the previous quarter in the three months through December, according to a preliminary estimate by the Cabinet Office released Monday.

Economists surveyed had predicted a fall of 3.8 percent, flagging the adverse impact of a sales tax increase, weak global demand and typhoon disruption.

The sales tax increase is being primarily blamed for this collapse in GDP, and without a doubt consumer spending in Japan was way down last quarter

Consumer spending fell 11.1% after the national sales tax was raised in October to 10% from 8%. During the same month, Typhoon Hagibis ravaged a large swathe of the country.

Capital spending declined 14.1% and exports slipped 0.4% due to the fallout from the U.S.-China trade war.

Japanese officials were hoping that GDP would bounce back this quarter, but now the coronavirus outbreak has changed everything.

At this point it is very difficult to be positive about the immediate future of the Japanese economy, and an increasing number of experts are now anticipating a recession.  Here is one example

“I’m getting ready for another contraction in Japan’s first quarter. There just aren’t any positive factors to build a positive growth forecast,” said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at Daiwa Securities Co., flagging her view that the economy is likely falling into recession.

The Japanese economy greatly benefits from the horde of tourists that usually come over from China, and the two nations have developed a very close trading relationship.

Now that those two factors are being disrupted, the outlook for the second quarter is decidedly grim

“There is a good chance of Japan’s economy falling into a recession,” Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, said before Monday’s data was released. He flagged the risks of supply chains being affected if the outbreak was prolonged.

The coronavirus is taking a toll on the number of Chinese tourists to Japan and manufacturing activity due to the economy’s close ties with China, prompting some economists to forecast a contraction lasting two quarters.

Ultimately, it is going to be exceedingly difficult for Japan to avoid a recession.

But if Chinese GDP also plunges into recession territory this year, that will be even bigger news.

According to the New York Times, “the entire global economy could suffer from a prolonged shock in China”, and so investors will be watching the development of this crisis very carefully.

The number of confirmed cases and the official death toll both continue to rise, and the draconian measures that the Chinese have taken to contain the outbreak have slowed the Chinese economy to a crawl.  The following is how Zero Hedge summarized the recent economic data that we have seen come out of China…

While not perfect, and certainly not a comprehensive view of what is really taking place “on the ground”, the above data is a useful real-time indicator of how the people in China perceive the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, and one thing is abundantly clear: as the pandemic spreads further without containment, and as the charts above flatline, so will China’s economy, which means that while Goldman’s draconian view of what happens to Q1 GDP is spot on, the expectation for a V-shaped recovery in Q2 and onward will vaporize faster than a vial of ultra-biohazardaous viruses in a Wuhan virology lab.

Of course many in the financial world are still hoping that things won’t be too bad.

For example, Dun and Bradstreet is hoping that the crisis in China will only “cause a drag of approximately one percentage point on global GDP”

China, the world’s second largest economy after US, contributes about 20 percent to the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). However, according to a report by Dun and Bradstreet, the Chinese economy might cause a drag of approximately one percentage point on global GDP if prevention of Coronavirus gets delayed beyond the summer of 2020.

That is a wildly optimistic projection, but hopefully they are right.

Hopefully the coronavirus will fizzle out with the arrival of warmer weather and the global economy can start to get back to normal.

Unfortunately, a return to “normal” is probably not in the cards.

Even before this coronavirus outbreak, the global economy was really starting to slow down.  Economic numbers were absolutely dismal all over the world, and many experts were warning that we were right on the verge of the next global recession.

Now that this outbreak has erupted, we definitely have much more momentum in a downward direction.  Very challenging times are ahead, although most people in the western world still don’t understand what is happening.

As far as the coronavirus is concerned, the key will be what happens to the number of confirmed cases outside of China.  Over the past week that number has roughly doubled, and if that keeps happening every week we will soon have a full-blown global pandemic on our hands.

There are now 75 confirmed cases in Singapore, 59 confirmed cases in Japan and 57 confirmed cases in Hong Kong.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep this virus contained, and we are rapidly approaching a major tipping point.

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 Mainstream Media Admits We Are In “An Auto Recession” – And It Just Continues To Get Worse

Quite a few of the most important sectors of the global economy are already “in a recession”, and yet somehow we are still supposed to believe that the economic outlook for the rest of 2020 is a positive one.  I am not buying it, and I know that a lot of other people aren’t buying it either.  The global economic slowdown that began last year is really picking up pace here in early 2020, and global financial markets are perfectly primed for a meltdown of epic proportions.  Unfortunately, most people simply do not understand how badly the global economy has been deteriorating.  For example, global auto sales have now fallen for two years in a row, and even CNN is admitting that the global auto industry has been in a “recession” for some time…

The global auto industry plunged deeper into recession in 2019, with sales dropping more than 4% as carmakers struggled to find buyers in China and India. The pain is likely to continue this year.

The number of vehicles sold across major global markets dipped to 90.3 million last year, according to analysts at LMC Automotive. That’s down from 94.4 million in 2018, and well below the record 95.2 million cars sold in 2017.

Here in the United States, people keep trying to tell us that the economy is in good shape, but last year auto sales fell here too

Nonseasonally adjusted passenger car sales in the U.S. for 2019 declined 10.9% to 4.7 million units, versus 5.3 million units in 2018, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

Sales of trucks, minivans and SUVs for the year totaled 12.2 million units, up 2.8% from the 2018 figure of 11.9 million units.

The overall nonseasonally adjusted U.S. vehicle sales for the period fell 1.4% to 17.0 million units, versus 17.2 million units a year ago.

Very few analysts are expecting these trends to turn around in 2020.

And considering how important the auto industry is to the global economy as a whole, that has very serious implications for all of us

Recession comes with big ramifications for the global economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, the car industry accounts for 5.7% of economic output and 8% of goods exports. It is the second largest consumer of steel and aluminum.

Meanwhile, we are experiencing a very deep transportation recession in the United States as well.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

Shipment volume in the US by truck, rail, air, and barge plunged 7.9% in December 2019 compared to a year earlier, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments. It was the 13th month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the steepest year-over-year decline since November 2009, during the Financial Crisis

How in the world can the U.S. economy possibly be in “good shape” with absolutely horrific numbers like that?

When the amount of goods being shipped around the country by truck, rail and air is steadily falling, that is a crystal clear indication that economic conditions are slowing down.

And one of the biggest reasons why a transportation recession is upon us is because it looks like we are in a “manufacturing recession” too.

In fact, the manufacturing numbers for December were simply abysmal

US manufacturing took a turn from lousy to worse in December, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business, released today, with employment, new orders and new export orders, production, backlog of orders, and inventories all contracting.

The overall Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) dropped 0.9 percentage points from November to 47.2% in December 2019, the fifth month in a row of contraction, and the fastest contraction since June 2009.

Overall, 2019 was the worst year for U.S. industrial production since 2015.

Across the Atlantic, things are even worse in Europe.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

The manufacturing downturn across Europe deepened in the last month of 2019 according to the latest survey data released on Thursday.

IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI lost momentum last month, printing at 46.3, down from 46.9 in November, if modestly above the 45.9 expected. The PMI averaged 46.4 in 4Q, a seven-year low.

When will global authorities finally admit that we have a real problem on our hands?

How much worse do the numbers have to get?

This month, the Baltic Dry Index has been plunging dramatically.  For those that don’t know, the Baltic Dry Index is a key indicator of where global trade is heading, and on Monday it plummeted to a nine-month low

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index hit a nine-month low on Monday, dragged down by falling rates of capesize and panamax segments as world trade continues to slump.

The Baltic Dry Index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities across the world, dropped 25 points, or 3.3%, to 729 (according to Refinitiv data), the lowest level since April 2019

This is not what a healthy global economy looks like.

Of course many of those in positions of authority will continue to insist that everything is just fine for as long as possible.

In fact, back in 2008 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke kept telling us that a recession wasn’t going to happen even after the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression had already started.

Just like back then, all of the hard economic numbers that we have are all saying the same thing.

Both the U.S. economy and the global economy as a whole have been slowing down for quite a while, and it looks like big trouble is ahead of us.

That means that now is not the time to be spending lots of money, making big financial commitments or going into debt.

Those that are wise will be positioning themselves to survive the coming economic storm, but unfortunately most people are paying no heed to the warning signs.

Just like last time around, most people have tremendous faith in the system, and so they will be absolutely blindsided by the crisis that is coming.

In the end, multitudes will be expecting the government to bail them out somehow, but considering the fact that we are already 23 trillion dollars in debt that simply is not going to be possible.

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.

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.

We Haven’t Seen A Manufacturing Slowdown Like This Since The Last Financial Crisis

This isn’t what was supposed to happen.  According to the economic optimists, there was going to be a great “manufacturing renaissance” as America entered a wonderful new golden age of boundless prosperity.  But of course that is not what has happened.  Manufacturing activity has been declining for the past three months, and all across the country we are seeing economic conditions rapidly deteriorate.  Over and over, we are seeing economic numbers that are worse than anything we have seen since the last recession, but the economic optimists keep assuring us that these are just temporary blips on the way to America’s glorious economic renewal.  Well, they can keep believing in a mirage of future prosperity if they want, but the hard numbers keep telling us another story.  For example, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index has now fallen to a level that was “last sustained during the financial crisis”

Manufacturing activity across the country has contracted for three months, according to closely watched ISM data. In the Midwest, the slowdown has been more severe. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index shows backlogs dropping to a level touched briefly four years ago but last sustained during the financial crisis.

In the middle of the country, it already feels like a manufacturing recession for many business owners.  Manufacturing facilities are being closed down, machines are being idled and thousands of workers are being let go.  The following comes from a CNBC article about our current manufacturing slowdown

At Ameri-Source Metals’ machine shop outside Pittsburgh, stacks of graphite stubs have begun to pile up in a quiet corner.

Founder Ajay Goel said the customer who typically buys the stubs – a multinational chemicals company – now only needs one-fourth of the amount he used to produce. As a result, the machines have been idled and the workers who serviced them, laid off.

That sure doesn’t sound like a “booming economy” to me.

So far this year, thousands upon thousands of manufacturing workers have been laid off in the Upper Midwest.  By now, we were supposed to be adding large numbers of these good paying jobs, but instead we are losing them at a frightening pace.

In fact, it is being reported that more than 8,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in the key state of Pennsylvania alone…

From January to September, the states bordering the Great Lakes have lost more than 25,000 manufacturing jobs: Pennsylvania lost 8,100; Ohio lost 6,000; Michigan lost 6,500; and Wisconsin lost 4,700.

Of course it isn’t just the manufacturing industry where employment is cooling off.  At this point, the number of job openings in the U.S. has fallen to an 18 month low, and it is expected to fall ever further in the months ahead.

Things have already gotten so bad that the mainstream media is running articles about how ordinary Americans can prepare for the coming recession.  For instance, the following comes from a CNN article entitled “What can you do now to financially prepare for a layoff later?”

Sometimes, there are warning signs that you are in danger of being laid off — a buyout of your company, a merger or a strategic change in direction. Other times, the cuts come without warning. But while being laid off is not in your control, being financially prepared for such an event is.

“Companies evolve, change and fail and employees, and even business owners, need to be prepared for the unexpected,” said Mike Silane, a chartered financial analyst with 21 West Wealth Management.

And remember, all of this is happening even though the federal government is running trillion dollar deficits and the Federal Reserve is using up all the ammunition that they should be saving for the depths of the next recession.

In essence, the authorities are already implementing emergency measures in a desperate attempt to support the faltering U.S. economy, but it isn’t working.

This week, we learned that orders for Class-8 trucks in the month of October were down 51 percent from a year ago.

Can anyone explain to me how that is consistent with the “booming economy” narrative that the economic optimists are endlessly pushing?

Unfortunately, the truth is that we can see signs of a major slowdown all around us.  U.S. business hiring has fallen to a 7 year low, the Cass Freight Index has declined for 10 months in a row, and manufacturing is now the smallest share of the United States economy that it has been in 72 years.

But despite all of the evidence that is staring them right in the face, the economic optimists continue to insist that everything is probably going to be okay.  In fact, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon is telling us that “the chance of a U.S. recession between now and the election is small”

“I’ve said that I still think the chance of a U.S. recession between now and the election is small — in the distributions of outcomes, it’s a smaller outcome — I said roughly 25%,” Solomon told Bloomberg Television in Berlin on Tuesday. “Nine months ago I probably would have told you it was very small, kind of 15%,” he said. “So I do think the uncertainty has increased a little bit some of the risk,” but economic data and earnings momentum have held up well and American consumers are “still very healthy,” he said.

Of course the truth is that American consumers are actually not “very healthy” at this moment.  Consumer confidence has fallen for 3 months in a row, and 44 percent of all Americans currently do not make enough money to cover their monthly expenses.

That is one of the reasons why consumers are piling up staggering amounts of debt, and that consumer debt bubble is starting to burst.

Unfortunately, the economic optimists will continue to push their false narrative up until the very end, and lots of people will believe them.

You can believe them too if you want, but it won’t change what is about to happen.

The crisis that so many have been anticipating is starting to play out, and our problems are likely to greatly accelerate 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.

More Bad Economic Numbers Put A Huge Dent In The Case Of The Economic Optimists

For a long time, people have been trying to tell me that the U.S. economy is headed for a new golden era.  They insist that the U.S. will be more powerful and more respected than ever before, and that we will see unprecedented prosperity in this nation.  But despite extremely wild spending by the U.S. government and exceedingly irresponsible intervention by the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy has not even had a “good” year in ages.  As I have pointed out numerous times, we have not had a year when U.S. GDP grew by at least 3 percent since the middle of the Bush administration, and that makes this the longest stretch of low growth in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin.  Many believe that brighter days may still be ahead, but all of the economic numbers that we have been getting in recent months make it abundantly clear that a new economic slowdown has begun.  I shared 14 of those numbers earlier this week, and I will share some brand new ones with you today.

Let’s start by taking a look at how U.S. consumers are faring.  U.S. consumer confidence has now fallen for 3 months in a row, and this week we learned that the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index has just fallen at the fastest pace in more than 8 years

U.S. consumer comfort suffered its biggest weekly decline in more than eight years on a pullback in Americans’ assessments of the economy, personal finances and the buying climate, possibly signaling more moderate household spending approaching the holiday-shopping season.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell 2.4 points, the most since March 2011, to 61 in the week ended Oct. 27.

How in the world can anyone possibly claim that we have a “booming economy” after reading that?

We also just got another depressingly bad manufacturing number.  Experts were expecting a reading of 48.3 for the Chicago Purchasing Management Index, but instead it came in at just 43.2

The Chicago Purchasing Management Index sank to 43.2 in October from 47.1 in the prior month. This is the lowest level since December 2015. Economists has expected a reading of 48.3, according to Econoday.

Any reading below 50 indicates deteriorating conditions.

We were promised a “manufacturing renaissance”, but instead manufacturing is now the smallest share of the U.S. economy that it has been in 72 years.

That is terrible.

Manufacturing traditionally provides good paying jobs, and as I pointed out the other day, U.S. business hiring has now declined to the lowest level in 7 years.

But at least we have plenty of government jobs, eh?

In the private sector, things are getting really tough, and we are starting to see lots of big companies lay off workers.

For example, Molson Coors just announced that they will be laying off up to 500 workers as they desperately search for a way to survive in this difficult economic environment…

To further drive efficiency and enable growth, Molson Coors is consolidating and reorganizing office locations. The Denver office will be closed and Chicago will be designated as the North American operational headquarters. Functional support roles currently housed in several offices around the country will now be based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

As a result, we expect to reduce employment levels by approximately 400 to 500 employees as part of this restructuring, primarily in our existing United States, Canada and International reporting segments, as well as Corporate.

You know that things are getting tough when even beer companies start laying people off.

Of course the “retail apocalypse” continues to escalate, and we just learned that Forever 21 will be closing most of their stores and laying off most of their employees

More than 100 Forever 21 stores are slated to close as part of the fashion retailer’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection case, according to court documents filed this week.

The family-owned company, which has about 32,800 employees, said it would close “most” of its stores in Asia and Europe and up to 178 stores in the U.S. when it filed for protection Sept. 29.

A similar scenario is playing out for Dressbarn.  According to USA Today, all of their 544 stores “will close no later than Dec. 26″…

Liquidation sales at the remaining Dressbarn stores will start Friday, the struggling retailer announced Wednesday.

While the 544 stores will close no later than Dec. 26, the women’s clothing website is expected to relaunch in 2020 with a new owner, the company said in a news release.

It has been hoped that a limited trade agreement with China might bolster the economy at least temporarily, but now we are learning that Chinese officials expect “phase one” of the deal to “soon fall apart”.  According to CNN, the Chinese are pessimistic that our two countries will ever be able to “reach a full trade deal”…

Chinese officials have expressed doubts about whether the world’s two largest economies can reach a full trade deal, Bloomberg reported. That is casting a long shadow over the “phase one” agreement that the countries reached earlier in October.

This is consistent with my warnings from previous articles.  The Chinese wanted the Trump administration to stop the implementation of any more tariffs, and they were able to achieve that with “phase one”.  But in order to move forward with “phase two”, the Chinese are going to insist on the removal of all tariffs

According to BBG’s sources, this is the bare minimum that Beijing would accept to move ahead with Phase 1: a commitment from the Americans to removing tariffs in Phase 2, and agreeing to cancel the next round of tariffs, set to take effect in December.

This is something that the Trump administration will never agree to, and so that puts us back where we originally started.

The Chinese will continue to “negotiate”, but only for stalling purposes.

There is only about a year left until the 2020 elections, and the Chinese are hoping to run out the clock on the Trump administration with as little disruption to their own economy as possible.

Unfortunately for the Chinese, Trump could possibly win another term, and if either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders win they could potentially be even tougher on trade with China.

In any event, we should not expect a comprehensive trade deal with China any time soon, and that is really bad news for the economic optimists.

Of course the truth is that everything that I have just shared is bad news for all of us.  The U.S. economy is seriously deteriorating, and things are only going to get worse 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 can only allow this to happen if this “About the Author” section is included 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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