As Wall Street Celebrates Rising Stock Prices, Companies Are Literally Shutting Down All Over America

How long can the stock market possibly stay completely disconnected from economic reality?  On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose just 27 points, but that was good enough to push it to yet another new all-time record high.  Investors have been absolutely thrilled by the extremely impressive bull run that we have witnessed so far in 2019, but there is no way that this is sustainable.  Wall Street may be celebrating for the moment, but meanwhile all of the hard economic numbers are telling us that we have now entered a new economic slowdown.  Just like in 2008, it appears to be inevitable that the party on Wall Street is about to hit a brick wall, but nobody should be surprised when it happens.  Everywhere around us there are signs of economic trouble, and right now companies are literally shutting down all over America.

For example, just take a look at what is happening to the trucking industry.  I recently warned about the trucking “bloodbath” that was unfolding, and over the past week it has greatly accelerated.

On the 12th of July, we learned that trucking giant LME had abruptly shut down.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Less-than-truckload carrier LME has reportedly “suddenly and abruptly” shut down its operations, according to FreightWaves.

The company is a regional carrier based in Minnesota that operated throughout the Midwest. The company had terminals in 30 locations across the U.S. and through interline agreements services all of North America. It also worked with major companies like 3M, John Deere and Toro.

The company reportedly included “over 600 men and women” and has been listed as having 382 power units and 1,228 trailers, with 424 truck drivers.

Then today we learned that Timmerman Starlite Trucking suddenly shut down without any notice

40 year old California trucking outlet Timmerman Starlite Trucking, Inc. is the latest victim in the “trucking apocalypse” and announced that it would be shutting down effective immediately, according to FreightWaves.

30 employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result. The company is based in a mid sized city about 100 miles east of San Francisco and had a fleet of 30 trucks, 150 trailers and 28 drivers.

The company’s owner cited “a tough freight market and environmental regulations” as reasons for the shut down. The company announced the shutdown on its Facebook page.

Of course those two trucking companies are definitely not the only victims of this “bloodbath”.  According to Business Insider, ALA Trucking, Williams Trucking, Falcon Transport and New England Motor Freight have also completely ceased operations in 2019.

If the U.S. economy really was “booming”, this would not be happening.

Meanwhile, major retailers continue to fall like dominoes.  Charming Charlie is headed for bankruptcy and will be closing all of their stores

Fashion accessory retailer Charming Charlie will close all its stores after going bankrupt for the second time in less than two years. More than 3,000 full- and part-time employees could lose their jobs.

Charming Charlie Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in Delaware with plans for going-out-of-business sales at about 261 stores, according to court documents. The chain expects the liquidation to take about two months.

In addition, we just learned that Fred’s will be shuttering another 129 stores as it desperately attempts to stay alive…

Troubled discount merchandiser Fred’s has announced another round of store closures.

The chain will shutter 129 stores, leaving it with about 80 locations, USA Today reported. Going-out-of business sales have already begun.

Not too long ago, I went to a going out of business sale at a local store that was closing down, and it was definitely depressing.  At one time the shelves had been packed full of products, but by the time I got there people were clawing through the small handfuls of deeply discounted merchandise that still remained.

Sadly, such scenes are being repeated over and over again all around the country.  In fact, things are already so bad that even Manhattan retailing legend Barneys is likely headed for bankruptcy

Barneys may be on the cusp of filing for bankruptcy protection as the luxury Manhattan retailer contends with high rents and shoppers going online, according to two media reports.

Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reported Saturday that Barneys has tapped law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP and is weighing a potential bankruptcy filing among other options that could occur in the coming weeks.

The all-time record for store closings in a single year was set in 2017 when 8,139 stores shut down.

According to a brand new report that was just released, we are on pace to absolutely shatter that old record.

In fact, Coresight says that the number of store closings in the U.S. could hit 12,000 by the end of this year…

The “going-out-of-business” sales and liquidation of other brands is expected to continue. Coresight estimates closures could reach 12,000 by the end of the year, the report said.

In The Beginning Of The End, I painted a picture of a future in which America’s communities would be littered by boarded up stores that had been abandoned by major retailers.

Now it is happening right in front of our eyes.

Everything that is taking place in the “real economy” makes perfect sense, and unfortunately our economic problems are likely to accelerate significantly in the months ahead.

What doesn’t make sense is what we are witnessing on Wall Street.

There is no way that stock prices should be rising like this, but financial bubbles don’t typically follow rational patterns.

Instead, they usually just keep going until something comes along to end them.

And considering everything that is going on in the world right now, that “something” could definitely arrive sooner rather than later.

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

They Are Calling This A “Bloodbath” For The $800 Billion Trucking Industry As U.S. Economic Activity Dramatically Declines

The U.S. trucking industry has not experienced a downturn of this magnitude since the last financial crisis, and this is one of the clearest signs yet that the U.S. economy is steamrolling into a severe economic downturn.  When economic activity is increasing, the trucking industry sees rising demand for their services and freight rates tend to go up.  That is precisely what we witnessed in 2018, and truckers were hoping for more of the same in 2019.  But when economic activity is on the decline, the trucking industry sees decreasing demand for their services and freight rates tend to go down.  Unfortunately, the numbers that the U.S. trucking industry is reporting right now are absolutely abysmal.  Freight rates have now fallen for six months in a row on a year-over-year basis, and according to Business Insider during the month of May loads on the spot market fell “by a chilling 62.6%” compared to last year…

This year has been rocky for the $800 billion trucking industry.

After a raucous 2018, 2019 has seen retailers and manufacturers moving less, according to the Cass Freight Index. Freight rates have dipped year-over-year for six months straight. Loads on the spot market, in which retailers and manufacturers buy trucking capacity as they need it rather than through a contract, have fallen by a chilling 62.6% in May year-over-year.

The spot market is where we see the marginal changes in demand most clearly, and what this is telling us is that we are already in a transportation recession.

Of course that is almost certainly putting it too nicely.  According to one owner-operator, what we are witnessing right now is nothing short of a “bloodbath”

The earnings of big and small players alike are getting hit as factory activity continues to decline. The Lexington, Kentucky-based owner-operator Chad Boblett said some truck drivers are seeing a “bloodbath.”

There has been a spate of trucking companies declaring bankruptcy this year, too. The largest was New England Motor Freight, which was No. 19 in its trucking segment. Falcon Transport also shut down this year, abruptly laying off some 550 employees in April.

If demand does not start rebounding really soon, we are going to see many more trucking companies go bankrupt.

And of course it isn’t just trucking companies that are licking their wounds right now.  All modes of transportation are down compared to last year, and that is a clear indication that big trouble is ahead for the U.S. economy.  According to Wolf Richter, the Cass Freight Index just suffered it’s largest drop “since November 2009″…

Freight shipment volume in the US dropped 6.0% in May compared to May last year, the sixth month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the sharpest year-over-year drop since November 2009, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments.

The index tracks shipments of goods for consumer and industrial sectors across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge.

What a difference one year can make.

Last year at this time we were in the midst of a trucking boom, and as a result orders for heavy trucks surged to record highs

In late 2017 and through summer of 2018, freight rates had been driven up by a capacity crunch in the trucking industry, and a panic amid shippers – such as big retailers or industrial companies that need to get their merchandise across the country – that trucking companies won’t be able to keep up with demand.

To meet that demand, truckers went on a buying binge, ordering a record number of Class-8 trucks that now have entered service.

But now that the trucking boom has turned into a trucking bust, we are watching orders for heavy trucks absolutely collapse.

In fact, according to Zero Hedge the number of new orders for heavy trucks in May was down a whopping 70 percent compared to a year ago…

Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data from ACT Research shows that the industry booked just 10,800 units in May, down 27% sequentially, but also lower by an astonishing 70% year-over-year. YTD orders are down 64% compared to the first five months of 2018.

This would not be happening if we had a “booming” economy.

Last year, the Cass Freight Index was showing robust increases month after month because economic activity was definitely rising.

But now the Cass Freight Index has fallen on a year-over-year basis for six months in a row because U.S. economy activity is dropping.

As I noted yesterday, nobody should be attempting to claim that the U.S. economy is in good shape at this point.  All of the numbers are definitely pointing in the other direction.

So what does all of this mean for average U.S. consumers?

What it means is that we should all be getting ready to go through another brutal economic downturn.  I personally know some people that have already lost their jobs, and a lot more job losses are coming.  It doesn’t matter if you have worked your tail off for years and have been the most loyal employee in America.  When it comes time for heads to roll, it won’t be the corporate executives with the fat paychecks that are let go.

Someday soon you may be called into the manager’s office without any warning whatsoever and be escorted out of the building 15 minutes later.

That is literally how fast it can happen.

When things started to go bad in 2008, the economic dominoes began to fall very quickly.

We should probably expect a similar scenario this time around.

The “next economic downturn” is already here, and the months ahead promise to be quite “interesting” indeed.

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

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