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.

The Day The Lights Go Out And The Trucks Stop Running

Lights Out - Public DomainWhat would happen if some sort of major national emergency caused a massive transportation disruption that stopped trucks from running?  The next time you talk to a trucker, please thank them for their service, because without their hard work none of our lives would be possible.  In America today, very few of us live a truly independent lifestyle, and that means that we rely on the system to provide what we need.  Most of us take for granted that there will always be plenty of goods at Wal-Mart and at the grocery store whenever we need more “stuff”, and most of us never give a second thought to how all of that “stuff” gets there.  Well, the truth is that most of it is brought in by trucks, and if the trucks stopped running for some reason the entire country would devolve into chaos very rapidly.

Earlier today, I came across a quote from Alice Friedemann that detailed what we would be facing during a major national transportation disruption very nicely…

Within a week, in roughly this order, grocery stores would be out of dairy and other items that are delivered many times a day. And by the week, the shelves would be empty.

Hospitals, pharmacies, factories, and many other businesses also get several deliveries a day, and they’d be running out of stuff the first day.

And the second day, there’s be panic and hoarding. And restaurants, pharmacies would close. ATM’s would be out of money. Construction would stop. There’d be increasing layoffs. Increasing enormous amounts of trash not getting picked up, 685,000 tons a day. Service stations would be closed. Very few people would be working. And the livestock would start to be hungry from lack of feed deliveries.

Then within two weeks, clean water supplies would run out. Within four weeks to eight weeks, there wouldn’t be coal delivered to power plants and electricity would start shutting down. And when that happened, about a quarter of our pipelines use electricity, and so natural gas plants wouldn’t be fed natural gas and they’d start shutting down.

There is so much infrastructure that we take for granted that would suddenly become very vulnerable in this type of scenario.  There are countless numbers of workers out there that never get any glory that do the hard work of maintaining our nuclear power plants, our natural gas pipelines, our electrical grid, etc.  If they suddenly were not able to do their jobs, the consequences would be absolutely catastrophic.  The following comes from Tess Pennington

They rarely mention the dozens of nuclear power plants that litter the United States. If no one is there to operate them, how long before they melt down and bury millions of survivors under a radioactive cloud?

Then there are the 12,000 facilities around the country that store large quantities of toxic or flammable chemicals, and reside close to residential areas. 2,500 of these sites contain chemicals in quantities that, if a catastrophic accident were to occur, could affect 10,000 to 1 million people each. And let’s not forget the 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines that can be found in every state. They suffer hundreds of leaks and ruptures every year, and are much more likely to explode when they aren’t maintained. That detail seems to be conveniently forgotten by post-apocalyptic films.

And finally, most post-apocalyptic movies will forget to mention what happens when there aren’t any functional fire departments. Aside from the obvious consequences, like whole neighborhoods routinely burning to the ground, who’s going to put out landfill fires that are occasionally radioactive?

For most Americans, a major national emergency of this magnitude may seem unimaginable right now.  But the truth is that it isn’t difficult to see how this kind of scenario could happen.  The Yellowstone supervolcano is becoming increasingly active, a single large asteroid could change all of our lives in a single moment, a crippling pandemic could bring normal life in America to a complete standstill, a terror attack involving weapons of mass destruction would spread panic and fear like wildfire, and a historic earthquake along the New Madrid fault, the Cascadia Subduction zone or any of the major faults in California could literally change the geography of our entire continent.

In addition, a massive EMP burst from a nuclear weapon or from the sun could fry our power grid and send us back into the stone age in a single moment.  This is something that I have written about extensively, and those that want to minimize this threat simply don’t know what they are talking about.

And an electromagnetic pulse is not even required to cause very serious problems with our electrical grid.  For instance, just consider what happened in Ukraine toward the end of last year

On December 23rd, 2015, the Prykarpattyaoblenergo power distribution station in Ukraine was hit by a carefully coordinated cyber-attack that was months in the making. The technicians lost control of their cursors as they watched hackers open breakers and take circuit after circuit offline, plunging 230,000 residents into darkness.

The hackers took backup power of the stations offline, plunging the electrical workers into darkness too, and worse yet, they even rewrote the low-level firmware that controls the electrical transformers. The attack had come after months of careful infiltration and planning by a dedicated team of elite cyber-warfare specialists and the result was devastating.

Even months later, technicians struggled to regain full capacity in the electrical grid due to the overwriting of firmware. With Ukrainian moves to nationalize power companies, it is possible that the powerful and Putin-connected Russian oligarchs who own large parts of Ukraine’s infrastructure were sending a message: we can shut down the system anytime we want.

The truth is that we are far more vulnerable than most of us would like to admit.

So what would you do if “normal life” suddenly came to an end and you no longer had access to food, water or power?

How would you and your family respond?

Hopefully you would continue to act in a civilized manner, but history has shown that many people would not.

Desperate people do desperate things, and it would only take a matter of days for some people to become violent

Before long, getting mugged or being a victim of some type of crime is as unpredictable and as common as a car accident. You’ll realize everyone in the neighborhood has now beefed up security on their homes. All your family, friends, and coworkers have experienced a mugging, carjacking, or worse.

You’ll have no choice but to accept this new way of life and count on basic safety measures (a form of passive denial) or further learn to defend yourself and remain in a constant state of alert (a very stressful state over time). It’s difficult emotionally, mentally, and physically to remain on high alert 24/7 for any length of time. Most people will revert to a form of passive denial until the next incident happens to them or a family member.

And even though things may seem relatively stable for the moment, concern about what is coming is one of the factors that has led an increasing number of Americans to arm themselves.  According to a brand new study from the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of all American homes now have a gun.  Just two years ago, a different study found that number was sitting at just 31 percent.

The way that we are living our lives right now will not last indefinitely.

At some point a major national emergency will strike, and when that day arrives we could suddenly be facing major power grid and transportation disruptions.

Are you prepared for that?

If not, you might want to do so while you still have time.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!