Those that were hoping for an “economic renaissance” in the United States got some more bad news this week. It turns out that the U.S. economy is in significantly worse shape than the experts were projecting. Retail sales unexpectedly declined in March, total business sales have fallen again, and the inventory to sales ratio has hit the highest level since the last financial crisis. When you add these three classic recession signals to the 19 troubling numbers about the U.S. economy that I wrote about last week, it paints a very disturbing picture. Virtually all of the signs that we would expect to pop up during the early chapters of a major economic crisis have now appeared, and yet most Americans still appear to be clueless about what is happening.
Even I was surprised when the government reported that retail sales had actually fallen in March. Consumer spending is a very large part of our economy, and so if consumer spending is slowing down already that certainly does not bode well for the rest of 2016. The following comes from highly respected author Jim Quinn…
The Ivy League educated “expert” economists expected March retail sales to increase by 0.1%. They only missed by $6 billion, as retail sales FELL by 0.3%. They have fallen for three straight months. At least gasoline sales were strong, as prices have risen 22% since mid-February. That should do wonders for the finances of American households. If you exclude gasoline sales, retail sales fell by 0.4%. As the chart below reveals, the year over year change in retail sales has been at or near recessionary levels for most of 2015, and into 2016.
You can view the chart that he was referring to right here. In addition to a decline in retail sales, total business sales have also been falling, and this is another classic recession signal. The following comes from Wolf Richter…
Total business sales fell again in February, the Commerce Department reported today. They include sales by manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers of all sizes across the US economy. This measure is far broader than the aggregate sales by publicly traded companies, which too have been falling.
At $1.284 trillion in February, total business sales were down an estimated 0.4% from January, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes. And they were down 1.4% from the already beaten-down levels of February last year. They’re back where they’d first been in November 2012!
Yes, the stock market has been on quite a run for the past several weeks, but that temporary rebound is not based on the economic fundamentals.
The truth is that the real economy is definitely starting to slow down substantially. If you want to break it down very simply, less stuff is being bought and sold and shipped around the country, and that tells us far more about what is coming in the months ahead than the temporary ups and downs of stock prices.
Another huge red flag is the fact that the inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has hit the highest level that we have seen since the last financial crisis…
The crucial inventory-to-sales ratio, which tracks how long unsold inventory sits around in relationship to sales, is now at a mind-bending 1.41. That’s the level the ratio spiked to in November 2008, after the Lehman bankruptcy in September had put the freeze on the economy.
Inventories represent prior sales by suppliers. When companies try to reduce their inventories, they cut their orders. Suppliers see these orders as sales. As their sales slump, suppliers adjust by cutting their own orders, thus causing the sales slump to propagate up the supply chain. They all react by cutting their expenses. And if it lasts, they’ll cut jobs. Inventory corrections have a nasty impact on the overall economy.
Because sales have slowed down, inventories are starting to pile up to alarmingly high levels. And when companies see that business is slowing down, they start to let people go.
Somehow, most of the talking heads on television don’t seem too alarmed by this.
But ordinary Americans are beginning to become alarmed about what is happening. In fact, the percentage of Americans that believe that the U.S. economy is “getting worse” is now the highest it has been since last August…
One of the more glaring examples of how strong pessimism has become is Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index. The measure gauges the difference between respondents who say the economy is improving or declining. The most recent results are not good.
Fully 59 percent say the economy is “getting worse” against just 37 percent who say it is “getting better.” That gap of 22 percentage points is the worst since August, according to Gallup, which polled 3,542 adults.
Personally, I thought that we would be a little further down the road by now, but without a doubt a new economic downturn has begun in America.
It’s funny – yesterday I took time out to write an article about the horrible suffering that ISIS sex slaves are enduring, and a few of my critics took that as a sign that there must not be enough bad economic news to write about.
Well, the truth is that this isn’t the case at all. The global economic meltdown is steaming along, even if it is moving just a little bit slower than many of us had originally anticipated. We are moving in the exact direction that myself and many others had warned about, and the rest of 2016 is looking quite ominous for the global economy.
So hopefully everyone (including the critics) is using whatever time we have left wisely. Because I definitely wish the very best for everyone during the exceedingly hard times that are coming.
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
A lot of things that have not happened since the last recession are starting to happen again. As you read the list below, you will notice that the year “2009” comes up again and again. There is a reason for that. Many of the same patterns that we witnessed during the last major economic downturn are starting to repeat themselves. In fact, many of the things that are happening right now have not happened in quite a few years. For example, manufacturing activity in the U.S. has contracted for the first time in four years. The inventory to sales ratio is the highest that it has been in four years. Average hourly compensation just experienced the largest decline that we have seen in four years. We also just witnessed the largest decline in the number of mortgage applications that we have seen in four years. After everything that Barack Obama, the U.S. Congress and the Federal Reserve have tried to do, there has been no real economic recovery and now the U.S. economy is suddenly behaving as if it is 2009 all over again. A whole host of recent surveys indicate that the American people are starting to feel a bit better about the economy, but the underlying economic numbers tell an entirely different story. The following are 12 clear signals that the U.S. economy is about to really slow down…
#1 The average interest rate on a 30 year mortgage has risen above 4 percent for the first time in more than a year.
#2 The decline in the number of mortgage applications last week was the largest drop that we have seen since June 2009.
#3 Mark Hanson is reporting that “mass layoffs” have occurred at three large mortgage institutions…
This morning I was made aware that three large private mortgage bankers I follow closely for trends in mortgage finance ALL had mass layoffs last Friday and yesterday to the tune of 25% to 50% of their operations staff (intake, processing, underwriting, document drawing, funding, post-closing).
This obviously means that my reports of refi apps being down 65% to 90% in the past 3 weeks are far more accurate than the lagging MBA index, which is likely on its’ way to print multi-year lows in the next month.
#4 It was just announced that average hourly compensation in the United States experienced its largest drop since 2009 during the first quarter of 2013.
#5 As I wrote about the other day, the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index declined to 49.0 in May. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction. That was the first contraction in manufacturing activity in the U.S. that we have seen since 2009.
#6 The inventory to sales ratio has hit a level not seen since 2009. That means that there is a lot of inventory sitting out there that people are not buying.
#7 According to the Commerce Department, the demand for computers dropped by a stunning 9 percent during the month of April.
#10 The stock market is starting to understand that all of these numbers indicate that the U.S. economy is really starting to slow down. The Dow was down 216.95 points on Wednesday, and it dropped below 15,000 for the first time since May 6th.
#11 The S&P 500 has now fallen more than 4 percent since May 22nd. Is this the beginning of a market “correction”, or is this something much bigger than that?
#12 Japanese stocks are now down about 17 percent from the peak of May 22nd. Japan has the third largest economy on the planet and it is one of the most important trading partners for the United States. A major financial crisis in Japan would have very serious implications for the U.S. economy.
If we were going to have an “economic recovery”, it should have happened in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately, as a recent Los Angeles Times article detailed, an economic recovery never materialized…
Real GDP growth — the value of goods and services produced after adjusting for inflation — is 15.4% below the 3% growth trend of past recoveries, wrote Edward Leamer, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. More robust growth will be necessary to bring this recovery in line with previous ones.
“It’s not a recovery,” he wrote. “It’s not even normal growth. It’s bad.”
Now we are rapidly approaching another major economic downturn.
What the U.S. economy is experiencing right now is not just a cyclical downturn. Rather, we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline that is the result of decades of very foolish decisions by our leaders.
It is imperative that we get the American people educated about what is happening. If people do not understand what is happening, they are not going to get prepared for the hard years that are coming.
And the point is not to fill people with fear. Rather, there is a lot of hope in understanding what is happening and in getting prepared. As we have seen over in Europe, those that get blindsided by economic problems often become totally consumed with despair. Suicide rates have soared in economically-troubled nations such as Greece, Spain and Italy.
And the same thing is going to happen in the United States too. In fact, the suicide rate in the United States has already been rising according to the New York Times…
From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 13.7.
In fact, today more Americans are killed by suicide than by car accidents.
Isn’t that crazy?
Unfortunately, this is only just the beginning. When the system fails, millions of Americans are going to be convinced that their lives are over. A lot of them are going to do some very stupid things. We want to try to prevent as much of that as possible.
Thanks to decades of incredibly foolish decisions by our leaders, an economic collapse is inevitable. This is especially true considering the fact that our leaders in Washington D.C. and elsewhere will not even consider many of the potential solutions which could help start turning our economic problems around.
So since there are no solutions on the horizon, we need to explain to people what is happening and help them to get as prepared as possible.
The years ahead are going to be very hard, but we have a choice as to how we will respond to the challenges in front of us.
We can face those challenges with fear, or we can face them with courage.
If the economy is improving, then why are many of the largest retail chains in America closing hundreds of stores? When I was growing up, Sears, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack were all considered to be unstoppable retail powerhouses. But now it is being projected that all of them will close hundreds of stores before the end of 2013. Even Wal-Mart is running into problems. A recent internal Wal-Mart memo that was leaked to Bloomberg described February sales as a “total disaster”. So why is this happening? Why are major retail chains all over America collapsing? Is the “retail apocalypse” upon us? Well, the truth is that this is just another sign that the U.S. economy is falling apart right in front of our eyes. Incomes are declining, taxes are going up, government dependence is at an all-time high, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is employed has been steadily falling since 2006. The top 10% of all income earners in the U.S. are still doing very well, but most U.S. consumers are either flat broke or are drowning in debt. The large disposable incomes that the big retail chains have depended upon in the past simply are not there anymore. So retail chains all over the United States are now closing up unprofitable stores. This is especially true in low income areas.
When you step back and take a look at the bigger picture, the rapid decline of some of our largest retail chains really is stunning.
It is happening already in some areas, but soon half empty malls and boarded up storefronts will litter the landscapes of cities all over America.
Just check out some of these store closing numbers for 2013. These numbers are from a recent Yahoo Finance article…
Forecast store closings: 200 to 250
Sears Holding Corp.
Forecast store closings: Kmart 175 to 225, Sears 100 to 125
Forecast store closings: 300 to 350
Forecast store closings: 125 to 150
Barnes & Noble
Forecast store closings: 190 to 240, per company comments
Forecast store closings: 500 to 600
Forecast store closings: 150 to 175
Forecast store closings: 450 to 550
The RadioShack in a nearby town just closed up where I live. This is all happening so fast that it is hard to believe.
But the truth is that those store closings are not the entire story. When you dig deeper you find a lot more retailers that are in trouble.
For example, Blockbuster recently announced that this year they will be closing about 300 stores and eliminating about 3,000 jobs.
Toy manufacturer Hasbro recently announced that they will be reducing the size of their workforce by about 10 percent.
Even Wal-Mart is going through a tough stretch right now. According to documents that were leaked to Bloomberg, Wal-Mart is having an absolutely disastrous February…
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the worst sales start to a month in seven years as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy, according to internal e-mails obtained by Bloomberg News.
“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal- Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”
So what in the world is going on here?
The mainstream media continues to proclaim that we are experiencing a robust “economic recovery”, but at the same time there are a whole host of indications that things are continually getting worse.
Even global cell phone sales actually declined slightly in 2012. That was the first time that has happened since the last recession.
Perhaps it is time that we faced the truth. The middle class is shrinking, incomes are declining and there are not nearly as many jobs as there used to be.
The U.S. labor market, which peaked in November 2007 when there were 139,143,000 jobs, now encompasses only 132,705,000 workers, a drop of 6.4 million jobs from the peak. The only work that has increased is part-time, and that is because it allows employers to reduce costs through a diminished benefit package or none at all.
So how can the mainstream media be talking about how “good” things are if we still have 6.4 million fewer jobs than we had back in November 2007?
And sadly, things may soon be getting a lot worse. If Congress does not do anything about the “sequester”, millions of federal workers may shortly be facing some very painful furloughs according to CNN…
Federal workers could start facing furloughs as early as April, according to federal agencies trying to prepare for the worst.
Unless Congress steps in, some $85 billion in massive spending reductions will hit the federal government, doling out furloughs to much of the nation’s 2.1 million federal workforce, experts say.
If you still live in an area of the country where the stores and the restaurants are booming, you should be very thankful because that is not the reality for most of the country.
I often write about the stunning economic decline of major cities such as Detroit, but there are huge sections of rural America that are in even worse shape than Detroit in many ways.
For example, many Indian reservations all over America have been shamefully neglected by the federal government and have become hotbeds for crime, drugs and poverty.
Business Insider recently profiled the Wind River Indian reservation in western Wyoming. The following is a brief excerpt from that outstanding article…
The Wind River Indian Reservation is not an easy place to get to, but I had to see it for myself.
Thirty-five-hundred square miles of prairie and mountains in western Wyoming, the reservation is home to bitter ancestral enemies: the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.
Even among reservations, it’s renowned for brutal crime, widespread drug use, and legal dumping of toxic waste.
You can see some amazing photos of the Wind River Indian reservation right here.
It is hard to believe that there are places like that in America, but the truth is that conditions like that are spreading to more U.S. communities with each passing day.
We are a nation that is in an advanced state of decline. But as long as the financial markets are okay, our leaders don’t seem too concerned about the suffering that everyone else is going through.
In fact, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan essentially admitted as much during a recent interview with CNBC. The following is how a Zero Hedge article summarized that interview…
Starting at around 1:50, Greenspan states the odds of sequester occurring are very high – in fact, the playdough-faced ex-Chair-head notes, “I find it very difficult to find a scenario in which [the sequester] doesn’t happen” But when asked how this will affect the economy, Awkward Alan is unusually clearly spoken – “the issue is how does it affect the stock market.”
While not so many of our leaders have taken the path to direct truthiness, Greenspan somewhat shocks a Botox’d and babbling Bartiromo when he admits “the stock market is the key player in the game of economic growth.”
Bartiromo shifts uncomfortably in her seat, strokes her imaginary beard and stares blankly as Greenspan explains that while the sequester will have a real effect on the real economy, “if the stock market can hold up through this, then the effect will be rather minor.”
Do you see?
As long as the stock market is moving higher they think that everything is just fine and dandy.
And the Obama administration?
They continue to pursue the same policies that got us into this mess.
The mainstream media is hailing QE3 as a great victory for the U.S. economy. On nearly every news broadcast, the “talking heads” are declaring that Ben Bernanke’s decision to pump 40 billion dollars a month into our financial system is definitely going to help solve our economic problems. The money for QE3 is being created out of thin air and this round of quantitative easing is going to be “open-ended” which means that the Federal Reserve is going to keep doing it for as long as they feel like it. But is this really good for the average American on the street? No way. Despite two previous rounds of quantitative easing, median household income has still fallen for four years in a row, the employment rate has not bounced back since the end of the last recession, and new home sales have remained near record lows. So what have the previous rounds of quantitative easing accomplished? Well, they have driven up the prices of financial assets. Those that own stocks have done very well the past couple of years. So who owns stocks? The wealthy do. In fact, 82 percent of all individually held stocks are owned by the wealthiest 5 percent of all Americans. Those that have invested in commodities have also done very nicely in recent years. We have seen gold, silver, oil and agricultural commodities all do very well. But that also means that average Americans are paying more for basic necessities such as food and gasoline. So the first two rounds of quantitative easing made the wealthy even wealthier while causing living standards to fall for all the rest of us. Is there any reason to believe that QE3 will be any different?
Of course not.
This time the Federal Reserve is focused on buying mortgage-backed securities. Yes, the same financial garbage that helped cause the last crisis. The Fed plans to gobble up tens of billions of dollars of that trash every month from now on.
But will the Fed pay true market value for those mortgage-backed securities? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.
So this is going to be a huge windfall for some people, and that does not include us.
Not a single penny of this 40 billion dollars a month will go directly into our hands. The theory is that it will “filter down” to us eventually.
But that hasn’t happened with previous rounds of quantitative easing.
So where does the money go?
A recent CNBC article discussed a very interesting report from the Bank of England about the effects of quantitative easing….
It said that the Bank of England’s policies of quantitative easing – similar to the Fed’s – had benefited mainly the wealthy.
Specifically, it said that its QE program had boosted the value of stocks and bonds by 26 percent, or about $970 billion. It said that about 40 percent of those gains went to the richest 5 percent of British households.
Many said the BOE’s easing added to social anger and unrest. Dhaval Joshi, of BCA Research wrote that “QE cash ends up overwhelmingly in profits, thereby exacerbating already extreme income inequality and the consequent social tensions that arise from it.”
Who benefits from quantitative easing?
According to the Bank of England, it is “mainly the wealthy” who benefit.
As I noted the other day, Donald Trump said essentially the same thing when he told CNBC the following….
“People like me will benefit from this.”
As I already discussed above, a lot of quantitative easing money gets into the financial markets where it pumps up the prices of financial assets.
But not all of it goes there.
We were told that the whole idea behind quantitative easing was that it was supposed to get banks lending again, but this has not happened. Instead, banks are sitting on unprecedented amounts of money. Just look at how the first two rounds of quantitative easing have caused excess reserves being held by banks to explode from close to zero to over 1.5 trillion dollars….
Of course one of the biggest problems is that the Federal Reserve is still paying banks not to lend money.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The Federal Reserve is paying banks to park money with them. So instead of risking their money by lending it out to us, the banks can just park it at the Fed and make risk-free profits for as long as they want.
Must be nice.
If the Federal Reserve really wanted banks to start lending again, all the Fed has to do is to stop paying banks not to lend money.
But of course if more than 1.5 trillion dollars suddenly started flooding into our economy (especially after you consider the multiplier effect) we would be dealing with nightmarish inflation unlike anything we have ever seen before.
So if you want to know why inflation was not even worse after QE1 and QE2 it is because more than a trillion and a half dollars is being parked with the Fed.
So did QE1 and QE2 do any good for average Americans?
Let’s go to the charts.
This first chart shows that the percentage of working age Americans with a job has stayed extremely flat since the end of the last recession.
Does it look like QE1 and QE2 made a difference to you? I don’t see any difference….
Okay, but what about new home sales?
Did QE1 and QE2 help them?
But the mainstream media is still buying the baloney the Fed is pushing.
The mainstream media is promising us that home sales will soon rise and that lots of new jobs are on the way.
Sadly, the truth is that things have steadily gotten worse for average Americans over the past 4 years despite all of the money printing the Fed has been doing. If you doubt this, just read this article.
But this is all that Ben Bernanke seems to have left. When printing money doesn’t work, his answer is to print even more money.
QE3 is likely to cause agricultural commodities and the price of oil to rise even further.
So unless you can convince your employer to give you a corresponding raise, this is going to mean that your paychecks are not going to go as far as they did before.
Higher inflation expectations in the US will filter around the globe. Post the extraordinary steps Ben took yesterday, people will be stocking up on “stuff”. Things like rice, flour, cooking oil, soy, wheat and sugar. If you can eat it, buy it now. It will be more expensive in a month. While your at it, fill up the gas tank, the price is going up next week and every week for the next few months.
In addition, the policy of the Federal Reserve of keeping interest rates as low as possible is absolutely crippling the finances of many retirees. Even the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, William F. Ford, recognizes this….
One of the overlooked consequences of the Federal Reserve’s recent rounds of monetary stimulus is the adverse impact those policies have had on the interest income of savers. The prolonged and abnormally low interest-rate structure put in place by the Fed has made life particularly difficult for retirees and others who depend on conservative interest-sensitive investments. But the negative effects do not stop there. They spillover into the overall performance of the economy.
Just about everything that the Federal Reserve does these days is bad for ordinary Americans.
But the Fed is not going to stop. The Fed is addicted to money printing now, and as a recent article by Peter Schiff explained, the Fed is just going to “up the dosage” until it gets what it wants….
The Fed will try to conjure a recovery on the backs of currency debasement. It will not stop or alter from this course. If the economy fails to respond to the drugs, Bernanke will simply up the dosage. In fact, he is so convinced we will remain dependent on quantitative easing that he explicitly said he won’t turn off the spigots even if things noticeably improve.
This is complete and total incompetence by Ben Bernanke and his cohorts over at the Fed.
Economist Marc Faber believes that Ben Bernanke should resign, and I agree with him….
“If I had messed up as badly as Bernanke I would for sure resign. The mandate of the Fed to boost asset prices and thereby create wealth is ludicrous — it doesn’t work that way. It’s a temporary boost followed by a crash.”
And yes, a crash is coming.
Bernanke can try to put it off for a while, but every action he takes is just making the eventual crash even worse.
And some in the financial community clearly recognize this. For example, credit rating agency Egan-Jones downgraded the credit rating of the United States to AA- on Friday.
The primary reason they gave for the downgrade was QE3.
Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve are destroying the U.S. dollar and destroying our financial system for a short-term economic sugar high.
It is utter insanity.
That is why we desperately need to get the American people educated about the Federal Reserve system. It is at the very heart of our economic problems and yet neither major political party is willing to blame the Fed for the problems that it is causing.
A bunch of unelected bankers that are not accountable to the American people are running our economy into the ground and the American people do not even realize what is happening.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. Hopefully we can get the American people to understand that more money printing is definitely not the solution to our problems.
If you were hoping for a recession in 2012, then you are going to be very happy with the numbers you are about to see. The U.S. economy is heading downhill just in time for the 2012 election. Retail sales have fallen for three months in a row for the first time since 2008, manufacturing activity is dropping like a rock, sales of new homes are declining again, consumer confidence has moved significantly lower and a depressingly small percentage of businesses anticipate hiring more workers in the coming months. Even though the Federal Reserve has been wildly pumping money into the financial system and even though the federal government has been injecting gigantic piles of borrowed cash into the economy, we still haven’t seen an economic recovery. In fact, we appear to be on the verge of yet another major downturn. In California the other night, Barack Obama told supporters that “we tried our plan — and it worked“, but only those that are still drinking the Obama kool-aid would believe something so preposterous. The truth is that the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for many years and now we have reached another very painful recession.
And don’t let the second quarter GDP number on Friday fool you. Analysts are expecting to see GDP growth of about 1.4 percent for the second quarter, but the only reason for our very small amount of “economic growth” is because the economy has been flooded with new dollars.
Let me give you an example. If I could go out overnight and magically double the bank accounts of every single American, would we all be twice as wealthy?
No, because there would be twice as many dollars now chasing the same amount of goods and services. The price of those goods and services would soon rise dramatically to reflect this new reality.
With all of those new dollars spinning around in the economy it would look like “economic growth” was going through the roof, but in reality the amount of real economic activity would be about the same.
So whenever we talk about GDP, we need to properly adjust it for inflation. That means using accurate inflation figures and not the highly manipulated inflation figures that the U.S. government is putting out these days.
And as I noted the other day, after properly adjusting for inflation the U.S. economy has been continually experiencing negative economic growth since about 2005.
So let’s not deceive ourselves. The U.S. economy has been declining for a long time.
But soon even the GDP number that the government gives us will turn negative. We will probably see a slightly positive number for the second quarter, and the number will likely go negative either in the third quarter or the fourth quarter.
Economists will debate when this new recession officially “began” just like they do with every recession, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what is happening to our economy right now.
The following are 17 reasons why those hoping for a recession in 2012 just got their wish….
1. U.S. retail sales have declined for three months in a row. This is the first time this has happened since 2008. Every other time this has happened in U.S. history (except for once) this has signaled that the U.S. economy was either already in a recession or was about to enter one.
6. According to a recent survey conducted by the Conference Board, only 17 percent of CEOs had a positive view of the economy during the second quarter of 2012. During the first quarter of 2012, 67 percent did.
7. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index is now the lowest that it has been since January.
8. Optimism among small business owners has declined in three of the last four months and is now at its lowest level since last October.
9. Believe it or not, the amount of waste being carted around on trains in the United States has an 82 percent correlation with U.S. economic growth. Unfortunately, right now the number of garbage carloads on trains is falling dramatically.
10. Sales of previously occupied homes dropped by 5.4 percent during June.
11. Sales of new homes declined by 8.4 percent during June. At this point new home sales are less than a third of what they were during the boom years.
14. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate fell in 11 states and Washington, D.C. last month, but it rose in 27 states.
15. The unemployment rate in New York City is now back up to 10 percent. That equals the peak unemployment rate in New York City during the last recession.
16. The teen unemployment rate in Washington D.C. right now is 51.7 percent.
17. A recent survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics found that only 23 percent of all U.S. companies plan to hire more workers over the next 6 months. When the same question was asked a few months ago that number was at 39 percent.
All of those are very powerful pieces of evidence that a new recession has started.
But do you want to know one of my favorite indicators that the U.S. economy is sliding into recession?
In a previous article, I noted that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made the following statement to Congress recently: “At this point we don’t see a double dip recession. We see continued moderate growth.”
As I mentioned the other day, Bernanke has a track record of failure that is absolutely embarrassing. Back on January 10, 2008 Bernanke made the following statement….
“The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”
That turned out to be a great call, didn’t it?
On June 10, 2008 he doubled down on his call that the U.S. economy was going to avoid a recession….
“The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so.”
Just before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed Bernanke made this statement….
“The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing.”
And there are dozens of other examples just like these.
The Federal Reserve is running our economy into the ground, and we need to pound this into the heads of the American people so that they will wake up and demand change.
Perhaps this next recession will be painful enough to wake people up.
The Wall Street Journal is already even using the “D word” to describe what we are experiencing. Just today, the Wall Street Journal ran an article that asked this question: “Do Two Recessions Equal One Depression?”
Sadly, this is just the leading edge of what is coming. By the time 2014 or 2015 rolls around, we are going to look back and long for the “good old days” of 2011 and 2012.