69 Percent Of U.S. Households “Are Preparing For A Possible Recession”

Do you believe that a recession is coming?  If so, you certainly have a lot of company.  It turns out that more than two-thirds of all U.S. households “are preparing for a possible recession” right now.  There is a growing national consensus that that U.S. economy is heading for big trouble, and this is causing a lot of people to cut back on spending.  In fact, we just witnessed the first drop in retail sales in seven months.  If this slowdown in retail spending extends into the holiday season, that could potentially be absolutely disastrous for the entire retail industry.  We are already in the midst of the worst “retail apocalypse” in U.S. history, and we are learning of more store closings with each passing day.  But of course it isn’t just the retail industry that is in very serious trouble, and I have some brand new numbers from a couple of other sectors that I will share with you below.

But first let’s talk about this new survey that just came out that says that 69 percent of all U.S. households “are preparing for a possible recession”

More than two-thirds of U.S. households say they are preparing for a possible recession.

Some 69% of participants in a recent poll said they were taking steps to shore up their finances ahead of a possible downturn, including 44% who said they were spending less money. Some 10%, including 13% of college graduates, are looking for a better or more stable job.

Considering what I do, it makes perfect sense to me that more than two-thirds of the country would be preparing for a recession.

But it would be very interesting to see this number broken down by political affiliation.  In general, Democrats tend to be far more pessimistic about the economy than Republicans are right now, and that is just because Donald Trump is in the White House.

I would suspect that the percentage of Trump supporters that are “preparing for a possible recession” would be well under 50 percent, but that is just a guess on my part.

In any event, the truth is that 100 percent of Americans should be preparing for a recession, because the warning signs are all around us.

And on Wednesday another economic red flag emerged.  For months, the economic optimists have been touting “the strength of the consumer” as one of the bright spots for the economy, but last month retail sales dropped for the first time in seven months

U.S. retail sales fell for the first time in seven months in September, raising fears that a slowdown in the American manufacturing sector could be starting to bleed into the consumer side of the economy.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that retail sales dropped 0.3% last month as households slashed spending on building materials, online purchases and especially automobiles.

That is certainly not the end of the world, but it does indicate that consumers are starting to scale back their spending.

Of course that is the last thing that retailers want to see happen.  We are already on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and we just learned that Sears and Kmart will soon be closing more stores

Sears and Kmart store closings are expected to continue into early 2020.

While more than 100 Sears and Kmart stores will shutter in the coming months, additional closures will stretch into January.

Company officials did not release an official list of the locations that will close. But news outlets across the nation, as well as documents filed with state governments, show some of the closings will happen in January 2020.

Sears has essentially been in the process of liquidating for a very long time, and we can only hope that eventually this incredibly painful liquidation will mercifully come to an end.

For many other retailers, this holiday season will be a “make or break moment”, and we should probably expect another huge wave of store closing announcements early in 2020.

And as I noted above, it isn’t just the retail industry that is really struggling.  We are already in a “transportation recession”, and we just learned that the Cass Freight Index has now declined for ten months in a row.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

Freight shipments by all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – within the US fell 3.4% in September 2019, compared to September last year, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments. For the index – which tracks shipment volume of consumer and industrial goods but not of bulk commodities – it was the 10th month in a row of relentless year-over-year declines

Another sector that is facing very tough times is the auto industry, and according to Reuters over 7 million Americans are seriously delinquent on their auto loans…

More than 7 million Americans are already 90 or more days behind on their car loans, according to the New York Federal Reserve, and serious delinquency rates among borrowers with the lowest credit scores have by far seen the fastest acceleration.

If all these numbers remind you of the last recession, that would make perfect sense, because we haven’t seen anything like this in more than a decade.

And all of this is happening even though the federal government is adding a trillion dollars to the national debt each year and the Federal Reserve has begun flooding the financial system with fresh cash.

In terms of “economic stimulus”, our leaders are already pushing the accelerator all the way to the floor, and it is simply not working.

This truly is the beginning of the end for the U.S. economy, and most Americans can now see that very tough times are ahead.

But what most Americans don’t understand is that what we will be facing won’t be anything like 2008.

Instead, it will be much, much worse.

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. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

This Is What A Recession Looks Like – Here Are 12 Big Companies That Are Conducting Major Layoffs

Do you remember what it was like in 2008 when it literally felt like no job was truly safe?  It was a terrible time, and many fear that we could soon be facing a similar scenario.  In recent days, big companies all across America have been laying off workers at a frightening pace.  As economic activity has slowed down, a lot of firms are feeling compelled to slash their payrolls, and if a deep recession is ahead of us then what we have seen so far could be just the tip of the iceberg.  In 2008 and 2009, millions of Americans lost their jobs very rapidly, and it could very easily happen again.

As I have been conducting research over the past few days, I have been struck by the stunning number of layoff announcements that are suddenly popping up in the news.  Here are 12 of the most prominent examples…

#1 HP Inc: “U.S. personal computer maker HP Inc said on Thursday it will cut up to 16% of its workforce as part of a restructuring plan aimed at cutting costs. The company will cut about 7,000 to 9,000 jobs through a combination of employee exits and voluntary early retirement, it said in a statement.”

#2 WeWork: “WeWork, the co-working business once valued at $47 billion, is expected to announce significant layoffs this month, Bloomberg reports. This follows reports the company was looking to slash as many as 5,000 roles, or one-third of its workforce.”

#3 Kroger: “Kroger is laying off hundreds of employees across the family of grocery stores it owns, a person familiar with the situation tells CNBC.”

#4 Sports Illustrated:  “The revered 65-year-old Sports Illustrated magazine is in a state of bedlam. In meetings Thursday afternoon, managers told staff members that about half the newsroom would be laid off, according to two people present at the meetings.”

#5 Uber: “The 435 employees cut from Uber include members from its product team and engineering team.”

#6 John Deere: “John Deere is set to layoff more than 150 workers at two of its plants in the Quad-Cities.”

#7 Bayou Steel Group: “According to Market Realist, Bayou Steel Group filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday and the company laid off 376 workers. U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal also curtailed some of their facilities. U.S. Steel idled two of its US blast furnaces earlier this year and the company expects those blast furnaces to be idle until at least the end of the year.”

#8 Elanco: “Elanco Animal Health Inc. which went public a year ago, on Monday said it plans to lay off 250 workers to save $12 million in 2020.”

#9 Lazard Asset Management: “Lazard Ltd. is cutting up to 7% of its employees in its asset-management division and closing some investment funds by year’s end, people familiar with the matter said, amid a tougher climate for money managers.”

#10 Advance Engineering Corporation: “Advance Engineering Corporation, Elgin, permanent closing due to relocation affecting 114 employees. First layoff date is Nov. 4, with layoffs to be completed by Dec. 31.”

#11 Daimler Trucks North America: “The company is laying off 450 workers at its Mount Holly plant and about the same number at its plant in Cleveland.”

#12 Genesis Healthcare: “Genesis Healthcare, in a statement to McKnight’s on Wednesday said it has reorganized its therapy gyms in response to PDPM and other industry changes. The company laid off 585 out of about 10,000 Genesis Rehab employees.”

This isn’t what a “booming economy” looks like.

In fact, this is precisely what we would expect to see as the U.S. economy plunges into a major economic downturn.

Of course a lot of people out there don’t want to believe that this is actually happening.  There are many that have absolutely convinced themselves that the good times will keep rolling indefinitely, even though all of the evidence is pointing to the contrary.

On Wall Street, investors are trying to make sense of all the negative data that we have been receiving lately, and many of them are starting to become quite nervous

Lagging or leading, macro or micro, global or domestic. For investors, all that matters to keep the bull market intact is whether this week’s torrent of data is flashing a recession ahead or just a few local shocks.

In a market so divided on the outlook, every piece of data holds the prospect of vindication or rebuttal — and numbers on Thursday just handed fresh ammo to the bears. A U.S. services gauge dropped to a three-year low in September and jobless claims rose more than expected, shortly after a euro-zone report showing a factory slump has spread to services.

Needless to say, all of the chaos in Washington is certainly not going to help matters.  The federal government will be paralyzed while this impeachment inquiry plays out, and Democrats are hoping to have articles of impeachment ready for a vote around Thanksgiving.

And I know that a lot of people don’t want to hear this, but Nancy Pelosi believes that she already has the votes that she needs.

That means that President Trump could be headed for impeachment, and a Senate trial would unleash chaos all over America.  We are already a deeply, deeply divided nation, and their entire saga is going to make things much worse.

You see, the truth is that our economic problems are not just happening in a vacuum.  There are many different elements to the emerging “perfect storm”, and they are all going to feed into one another.

So buckle your seat belts and get prepared for rougher times, because this drama is only in the very early chapters.

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. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

A U.S. Economic Slowdown Has Been Confirmed, And We Are Being Warned That “More Damage” Is Ahead

We just witnessed the worst month for U.S. manufacturers in more than 10 years, and nobody seems optimistic that things are going to get much better any time soon.  In fact, one expert is warning that “more damage” is coming if the trade war is not resolved, and unfortunately it does not appear that a resolution will be possible for the foreseeable future.  As I have been detailing for months, the entire global economy has been steadily slowing down, but some shocking new numbers that we just got indicate that our economic problems are really starting to accelerate.  So hold on to your hats, because it looks like things are about to get really crazy.  According to CNBC, September was the worst month for U.S. factories in more than a decade

The U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index from the Institute for Supply Management came in at 47.8% in September, the lowest since June 2009, marking the second consecutive month of contraction. Any figure below 50% signals a contraction.

The new export orders index was only 41%, the lowest level since March 2009, down from the August reading of 43.3%, ISM data showed.

Those numbers are absolutely abysmal, and they were far worse than analysts were expecting.

Since December 2009, I have published more than 2,000 articles on The Economic Collapse Blog, and in all that time we have never seen manufacturing numbers this bad.

According to Peter Boockvar, the chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, we have “now tariffed our way into a manufacturing recession in the U.S. and globally”.  So those that have been waiting for a “manufacturing recession” to arrive can now stop waiting.  It is here, and it is going to be very painful.

All over America factories are starting to close down at an alarming pace.  This week, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards blamed the “sudden shutdown” of a steel plant in his state on the ongoing trade war

In Louisiana, meanwhile, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday blamed the sudden shutdown of a steel plant on tariffs. “While Bayou Steel has not given any specific reason for the closure, we know that this company, which uses recycled scrap metal that is largely imported, is particularly vulnerable to tariffs,” he said.

The closure of LaPlace, Louisiana-based of Bayou Steel will cost 376 employees their jobs.

All over the globe, manufacturing numbers are plunging at an alarming pace thanks to the trade war.  For a long time I warned my readers that the level of economic pain that this trade war would inflict upon all of us would steadily rise as long as this trade war persisted, and now the experts being quoted by the mainstream media are saying the exact same thing.  Here is just one example

“The manufacturing side is telling us something. It’s a combination of global growth and we’ve got a trade war that’s been going on for a year and a half,” said Christian Fromhertz, CEO of The Tribeca Trade Group. “That’s been freezing things up. The longer this trade war keeps going, the more damage it does.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is being hit extremely hard.

Overall, we haven’t seen a slowdown in global trade like this since the last recession, and at this point container shipping rates are down a whopping 34 percent since the beginning of 2019…

Container shipping rates continue to move lower into the fourth quarter of 2019, according to FreightWaves. The drop in price comes as a result of the most recent round of tariffs discouraging U.S. importers from front loading orders. As a result, ocean carriers are looking to cut even more shipping capacity in hopes of meeting tepid demand into the back end of the year.

Spot rates on the Freightos Baltic Daily Index for China-North America West Coast were down 8% from last week, falling to $1,327 per forty-foot equivalent unit. Container rates are down 34% since the beginning of the year, despite the industry now being in peak season. 

For months, I have been sharing numbers that indicate that the entire global economy is heading into a recession.  But now the numbers are absolutely screaming that major trouble is imminent.

Winter is coming, and it will not be pleasant.

After the horrifying U.S. manufacturing numbers were released on Tuesday, U.S. stock prices immediately began falling, and the Dow ended the day down more than 340 points

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 343.79 points lower, or 1.3% at 26,573.04 after rallying more than 100 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 slid 1.2% close at 2,940.25. The Nasdaq Composite was down 1.1% at 7,908.68.

Tuesday marked the worst one-day performance for the Dow and S&P 500 since Aug. 23.

Meanwhile, as is usually the case when economic doom erupts, the price of gold is soaring once again

Gloom for the economy is a boom for safe havens. A 10-year-low in a reading of U.S. manufacturing activity sent investors flocking back to the safety of gold on Tuesday, just after they let the yellow metal flounder to two-month lows.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $16.10, or 1%, at $1,489 per ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The threat of impeachment looms over Washington, and it could potentially unleash political chaos like we haven’t seen in the United States in decades.

And at the same time, the global economy is deteriorating to a degree that we have not seen since the last recession, and many believe that what is coming will be even worse than what we experienced a decade ago.

Dark storm clouds have gathered over America, and we stand on the precipice of one of the most critical moments in the history of our nation.

Unfortunately, most Americans are still dead asleep, and many of them have absolutely no idea what is about to happen.

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. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

A Shocking New Survey Finds That Most Americans Are Completely Unprepared For The Next Recession

Just like in 2008, most Americans are living right on the edge financially, and so any sort of an economic downturn is going to be extremely painful for tens of millions of American families.  When you have not built up a financial cushion, any sort of a setback can be absolutely disastrous.  During the last recession, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because most of them were living paycheck to paycheck a lot of them suddenly couldn’t pay their mortgages.  In the end, millions of Americans lost their homes during the “subprime mortgage meltdown”, and today the housing bubble is even larger than it was back then.  Sadly, the reality of the matter is that many of us are just barely scraping by from month to month, and that is a very dangerous position to be in.

A new survey that was just released shows just how vulnerable American consumers have become at this point in time.  According to the survey, the top financial priority for 38 percent of all Americans is just trying to pay the bills, and for 19 percent of all Americans it is dealing with credit card debt.  The following comes from Fox Business

Among survey respondents in the nationally representative poll, 38 percent said their top financial priority is “just staying current on living expenses or getting caught up on all the bills.” Almost 3 in 10 respondents (29 percent) said their chief priority was “saving more money,” and 19 percent indicated they were mainly working on paying down debt from products like credit cards and student loans.

So that means that for nearly 60 percent of all Americans, the top financial priority each month is either finding a way to pay the bills or dealing with credit card debt.

And if you are struggling to pay the bills each month or you are drowning in credit card debt, the truth is that you are definitely not ready for the next recession.

The same survey also discovered that a very large percentage of Americans are not following any sort of a financial budget

More than a decade into the longest economic expansion on record, almost two-fifths of people said in a new Bankrate poll that their main financial priority was just keeping their heads above water on living expenses rather than saving money.

Nearly as many of those surveyed said that they’re not following financial budgets, according to Bankrate’s September Financial Security Poll.

So many people out there spend money whenever they feel like it and they don’t have any sort of a plan for their finances.

And then when they get deep into debt they wonder how that could have possibly happened.

It is so important to take charge of your money and to have a plan for where you want to go financially.  Because if you don’t have a plan for your money, I promise you that somebody else does.  As many of us have learned the hard way, it is all too easy to fall victim to all of the financial predators that are constantly circling these days.  The big financial institutions want to get Americans into as much debt as possible, because the deeper we are in debt the more money they make.

In our society, everything has become all about extracting as much money out of you as possible.  Even when we are at the checkout counter at the supermarket we are asked if we want to get some “cash back” so that they can charge us a “convenience fee” and make even more money.  And of course most of the money that is extracted out of us ultimately ends up at the very top of the financial pyramid, and as a result the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” continues to grow.

In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau is telling us that the gap between the rich and the poor is now “greater than it has ever been”

In the midst of the longest economic expansion the United States has ever seen, with poverty and unemployment rates at historic lows, the separation between rich and poor from 2017 and 2018 was greater than it has ever been, federal data show.

To be fair, the U.S. Census Bureau has only been measuring this since 1967, and so it is entirely possible that things could have been even worse earlier in our history.

But the numbers do clearly show that the gap has been steadily widening for years, and at this point wealth inequality in the U.S. is far greater than it is in any country in Europe

The Gini index measures wealth distribution across a population, with zero representing total equality and 1 representing total inequality, where all wealth is concentrated in a single household. The indicator has been rising steadily during the past several decades. When the Census Bureau began studying income inequality more than 50 years ago, the Gini index was 0.397. In 2018, the Gini index rose to 0.485.

By comparison, no European country had a Gini index greater than 0.38 between 2017 and 2018.

So what this means is that we have a small group of people at the top of the pyramid doing really, really well, but meanwhile most of the rest of us are deeply struggling.

In fact, survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

The way that our entire system is structured greatly favors Wall Street, the big banks, the largest corporations and those with enormous amounts of money.  And they are able to maintain control of the system by literally buying elections and controlling public opinion through their control of the mainstream media.  Our founders were deeply suspicious of large concentrations of power, and we need to return to the values that our nation was founded upon if we ever hope to turn things around.

Unfortunately, more Americans that ever are convinced that socialism is the answer to the problems that I just discussed, and this is fueling the rise of politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

But socialist experiments have failed all throughout human history, and socialism would fail here too.

Big government is never the answer.  Sadly, we already have the biggest government in the history of the world, and many Americans seem absolutely determined to make it even bigger.

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. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

The Latest Numbers Tell Us That The Global Economic Slowdown Is Accelerating Dramatically

Economists are already predicting “the world’s lowest growth in a decade”, but it is beginning to look like what we will be facing will be much worse than that.  In recent days, numbers have been coming in from all over the planet that are absolutely abysmal.  The “global economic slowdown” is rapidly transitioning into a new global economic crisis, and central banks seem powerless to stop what is happening.  They have already pushed interest rates to the floor (actually below the floor in many cases), and over the past decade they have absolutely flooded the global economy with new money.  But despite all of this unprecedented intervention, economic conditions are deteriorating at a pace that is breathtaking.

Let’s start by taking a look at what is happening in India.  According to CNN, vehicle sales in India fell a whopping 31 percent in July…

Just two years ago, India’s huge car market was booming and global players were rushing to invest. Now it’s been slammed into reverse.

Sales of passenger vehicles plunged 31% in July, according to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Tuesday. It’s the ninth straight month of declines and the sharpest one-month drop in more than 18 years, SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told CNN Business.

Those are numbers you would expect to see if we were in the middle of a full-blown economic depression, and it is being projected that this downturn “could result in a million people being laid off”

The slump has prompted companies to slash over 330,000 jobs through the closing of car dealerships and cutbacks at component manufacturers, Mathur said, citing data from industry associations that govern those two sectors.

The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India warned in a statement last month that its “crisis-like situation” could result in a million people being laid off.

A million jobs is very serious.

And we are talking about just one industry in one country.

How many jobs will ultimately be lost all over the world in the months ahead?

Over in China, the auto industry is also deeply struggling

China’s Geely (GELYF) revealed this week that its net profit probably plunged by 40% in the first half of the year as the world’s second largest economy slowed. In June alone, its car sales fell 29%.

That isn’t supposed to happen in China.

For decades, China has been one of the primary engines of global economic growth, but now things have changed dramatically.

Perhaps you can blame the trade war for what is happening in China, but the auto industry is also in big trouble in Europe.  In fact, some of the biggest automakers in the world are closing European factories and ruthlessly slashing jobs

Ford is cutting 12,000 jobs and closing six plants in Europe, including an engine factory in the United Kingdom. Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors (TTM), is slashing 4,500 jobs. Honda is also closing a plant in the United Kingdom.

If those companies expected the European economy to bounce back in the foreseeable future, they would not be making such moves.

But just like you and I, they can see what is happening to Europe’s economy, and on Monday we just received some more deeply troubling news.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Weakness in euro-area manufacturing hit a climax this morning as German private sector activity plunged to a seven-year low. The Germany Manufacturing PMI slumped in September, dropping to 41.4, down from 44.7 in August, printing below the lowest sellside estimate (consensus of 44.4); worse, the German manufacturing recession is now spreading to the services sector, where the formerly resilient services PMI also slumped from 54.8 to 52.5, also missing the lowest analyst estimate, and collectively, resulting in the first composite PMI print below 50, or 49.1 to be precise, since April 2013. The rate of decline was one of the sharpest in seven years.

It appears that the German economy has already entered recession territory, and these new numbers are not causing anyone to be optimistic.

In fact, “abysmal” is hardly strong enough to describe these absolutely horrible figures

  • Flash Germany PMI Composite Output Index (1) at 49.1 (Aug: 51.7). 83-month low.
  • Flash Germany Services PMI Activity Index(2) at 52.5 (Aug: 54.8). 9-month low.
  • Flash Germany Manufacturing PMI(3) at 41.4 (Aug: 43.5). 123-month low.
  • Flash Germany Manufacturing Output Index(4) at 42.7 (Aug: 45.8). 86-month low.

Of course the U.S. economy has been slowing down for quite some time now, and if you doubt this, I encourage you to read this list of 28 alarming facts about our economy that I posted earlier this month.

We haven’t seen economic conditions like this in the United States since the depths of the Great Recession, and many believe that what is coming will be far worse than the last time around.

And we may be deep into the coming crisis far sooner than many were expecting.  In fact, David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff is adamant that there is “a recession coming in the next 12 months”

David Rosenberg, the Gluskin Sheff chief economist and strategist, is warning that a recession is coming. Rosenberg says economic growth in the United States will turn negative sooner than most investors anticipate and the Federal Reserve is powerless.

Even if the central bank lowers interest rates to zero, a recession will still grip the U.S. within 12 months, Rosenberg predicts. “There’s a recession coming in the next 12 months,” he stated with fact last Thursday on CNBC’s “Futures Now. The Fed just lowered its benchmark interest rate last Wednesday by a quarter-point and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled rates would only be cut again if there’s new evidence the economy is softening.

If things really start to deteriorate in the months ahead, we could be in the midst of a horrible economic downturn by the time the U.S. presidential election rolls around.

Let us hope that is not the case, but right now things certainly do not look good for the U.S. economy or for the global economy as a whole.

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. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

The Mainstream Media Says The Middle Class Isn’t Shrinking – But That Is Only Because Their Definition Includes Lots Of Poor People

If you ask the mainstream media, they will tell you that about half the country is still middle class.  In fact, a CNBC article that just came out says that “52% of American adults live in ‘middle class’ households”.  Of course that is down from 61 percent in 1971, but considering everything we have been through in recent years, that still looks pretty good.  But is it the truth?  In the end, it all comes down to how you define “the middle class”.  If I defined the middle class as anyone that makes from zero dollars to a trillion dollars a year, then 100 percent of Americans would be considered “middle class” by that definition.  So we can’t just look at the final number they give us.  Instead, we have to dig deeper and find out how they came up with the number in the first place.

The larger the household, the more income it takes to sustain a middle class lifestyle.  And according to CNBC, the definition of a “middle class household” is extremely broad at every household size…

  • Household of one: $26,093 to $78,281
  • Household of two: $36,902 to $110,706
  • Household of three: $45,195 to $135,586
  • Household of four: $52,187 to $156,561
  • Household of five: $58,347 to $175,041

If you are single person and you are making just $26,000 a year, there is no way that you should be considered part of “the middle class”.

First of all, there is no way that you would be able to buy a home in most major U.S. cities these days, and home ownership has always been considered to be one of the key hallmarks of the middle class.

Secondly, $26,000 a year breaks down to just a little over $2,000 a month before taxes.  After paying for rent, health insurance and a little bit of food, there wouldn’t be any money left.

You can define that as a “middle class lifestyle” if you want, but I sure don’t.

Over the past decade, the cost of living has increased at a far faster pace than our paychecks have.  As a result, many Americans that used to live middle class lifestyles are no longer able to do so.

Health insurance is just one example.  Thanks to Obamacare, health insurance premiums have absolutely skyrocketed, and this is financially crippling families all over the nation.  In addition to health insurance, here are just a few of the other expenses that average American families must pay on a regular basis…

-rent or mortgage payment

-the power bill

-the water bill

-food

-phone

-Internet

-vehicle payment(s)

-gasoline

-vehicle repairs

-car insurance

-dental bills

-home or rental insurance

-life insurance

-student loan debt payments

-credit card payments

-furniture, clothing and other necessities

If you are making just two or three thousand dollars a month before taxes, there is no way that you can cover all of that.

So I am sorry, but the way that CNBC is defining “the middle class” is just wrong.

Considering everything that I have just discussed, it should not be surprising to learn that a survey conducted earlier this year found that 78 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.

And if you are living paycheck to paycheck, there is a really good chance that you are not middle class.

Of course another major factor is geography.  If you live in a very expensive coastal city like New York or San Francisco, it has been estimated that it now takes approximately $350,000 a year to be part of the middle class…

Here’s a sad reality: In order to raise a family in an expensive coastal city like San Francisco or New York, you’ve now got to make $350,000 or more a year.

You can certainly live on less, but it won’t be easy if your goal is to raise a family, save for your children’s education, save for your own home and save for retirement (so you can actually retire by a reasonable age).

When I was growing up, I thought that if someone was making $50,000 a year that person really had it made.

But these days $50,000 a year will barely get you above poverty level depending on the size of your household and where you live.

In a desperate attempt to maintain a middle class lifestyle when their incomes don’t really allow for it, many Americans are going into shocking amounts of debt.  And these days even our young adults are piling on debt as if tomorrow will never come

Millennials carry an average of $27,900 in debt, not including mortgages, according to new data released today by Northwestern Mutual. Gen Z, the oldest of whom are now 22 years old, have an average debt of $14,700.

Having sizable debt at a young age “is the new normal,” said Chantel Bonneau, wealth management advisor at Northwestern Mutual. “There are lots of people who exit school, and before they start their first job, have debt. That is a different situation from 30 years ago.”

But when you pile on too much debt, it can become financially suffocating very quickly, and many of our young people actually report becoming “physically ill” from worrying about it so much…

About 45% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z reported feeling guilty about their debt at least every month — more than other age groups. But debt is a major stressor across age groups. One-fifth of all respondents said their debt made them physically ill at least monthly, 45% said it made them anxious at least monthly, and 35% said they felt guilty once a month or more.

Overall, U.S. households are now over 13 trillion dollars in debt, and one of the primary reasons why we have accumulated so much debt is because most of us want to live lifestyles that we haven’t really earned.

We are also facing record levels of corporate debt, local government debt, state government debt and federal government debt.  And when this debt bubble bursts, it will completely destroy our system.

We have entirely mortgaged our future for short-term gain, and we are so proud whenever the short-term economic numbers tick up a little bit.

But in the process we have completely destroyed the future for every generation of Americans that was supposed to come after us, and that is not something to smile about at all.

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. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

60 Percent Of Americans Believe A Recession Is Coming – But Consumers Continue To Pile Up Debt At A Frightening Pace

We haven’t seen survey results like this since just before the last recession.  Right now, 60 percent of Americans believe that a recession is “very or somewhat likely in the next year”, and the reason why that figure is so high is because there is already a tremendous amount of evidence that the economy is slowing down all around us.  As I have been documenting repeatedly, U.S. economic performance has not been this dismal since 2008 and 2009, and the slowdown seems to be gaining pace as we move toward the end of 2019.  So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that a solid majority of the country thinks that the next recession will officially begin very soon.  The following comes from ABC News

Ratings of the U.S. economy overall, 56% positive, are down from 65% last fall in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. Most ominously, 60% see a recession as very or somewhat likely in the next year. That’s within sight of the 69% who said so in November 2007, in advance of the Great Recession.

But at the same time, U.S. consumers continue to pile up more debt at a frightening pace.

According to NBC News, total revolving credit shot up at an 11.25 annual pace during the month of July…

According to the Federal Reserve’s consumer credit tracker, revolving credit — a category in which credit card debt predominates — increased at an annualized rate of 11.25 percent in July, the most recent month for which data is available.

“In terms of revolving debt, we see spikes like this every so often, but they don’t jump by double digits all that much,” said Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards. Typically, big jumps occur around the holidays, though — not in July.

If a severe economic downturn really is coming, the smart thing to do would be to get out of credit card debt.

But these days Americans have been trained to be very short-term thinkers.  And when things start to get tight, it is really easy to put expenses on a credit card and worry about them later.  This is something that I did when I was a much younger man, and it is something that millions of American families all over the nation are doing right now.

When the money simply isn’t there, it is just so tempting to whip out a credit card.  But credit card debt is one of the most insidious forms of debt because of the high interest rates most credit card companies charge.  And at this moment credit card companies are jacking up rates to a degree that we haven’t seen in many years

WalletHub says average credit card APRs for people with good credit and business credit cardholders — at 20.9 percent and 18.5 percent, respectively — are the highest they’ve been since it began tracking rates in 2010.

For people with less than stellar credit, even those rates might be out of reach, McClary said. For example, a new applicant with a credit score in the low 600s might be offered an APR of about 22 percent, he said.

Unfortunately, the more debt that you accumulate, the less likely it becomes that you will ever start building up substantial wealth of your own.

Today, tens of millions of Americans are deep in debt and are working exceedingly hard to make other people rich.  And this is one of the biggest reasons why well over half the nation is currently living in “asset poverty”

Many Americans claim they simply don’t earn enough money to build any type of savings account or amass any meaningful financial assets. Now, a troubling study out of Oregon State University finds some definite statistical truth to these sentiments, concluding that over 63% of American children and 55% of Americans live in “asset poverty.”

In other words, most Americans are living right on the edge financially, and that is a very dangerous place to be.  If you are not familiar with the term “asset poverty”, the following is a pretty good definition

Asset poverty means having few or no financial assets to fall back on in the event of a financial calamity, such as losing one’s job or encountering a medical crisis. Some examples of common financial assets are vehicles, houses, savings accounts, and investments. Without these assets, weathering a financial crisis is extremely difficult.

When you really don’t have any real wealth of your own, you are essentially living paycheck to paycheck, and a single major setback can be absolutely disastrous.

In America today, financial difficulties are one of the biggest reasons why so many of us are completely stressed out, and the next recession hasn’t even officially begun yet.

But with each day we continue to get more numbers that tell us that big trouble is on the way.  For example, we just learned that the U.S. lost 4,500 trucking jobs last month

The trucking industry has been battling challenging circumstances so far in 2019 – which includes the loss of thousands of positions last month.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry lost 4,500 jobs between July and August.

And of course trucking companies continue to go bankrupt at a staggering pace.  According to Business Insider, more than 600 trucking companies have already gone bankrupt so far this year…

Indicators from the trucking industry have been sour in 2019. In the first half of the year, around 640 trucking companies went bankrupt, according to industry data from Broughton Capital LLC. That’s more than triple the number of bankruptcies from the same period last year — about 175.

Sometimes people think that I exaggerate when I warn people about what is coming.  But the truth is that I am not exaggerating at all.  If anything, I feel frustrated that I am not able to effectively communicate how bad it will actually be when things start to get really crazy.

As a nation, we have been making incredibly bad decisions for decades, and we have been running in the exact opposite direction of where we should be headed as fast as we can.

In life, all decisions have consequences, and we are going to pay an extraordinarily high price for our exceedingly foolish decisions.

For the moment, things are relatively quiet.  But that quietness will not last for much longer.

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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