11 Reasons Why So Many Experts Believe That A U.S. Economic Crisis Is Imminent

The numbers are telling us that we have never been closer to the next recession than we are right now.  The storm clouds that were gathering on the horizon are now directly above us, and suddenly the mainstream media is filled with stories about when the next recession will begin and the effect that this may have on President Trump’s chances of winning in 2020.  In fact, there has been so much chatter about this that even President Trump is talking about it.  All over television, experts are breathlessly speculating about when the coming recession will begin, and they are dispensing lots of advice about how people should be preparing for it.

So what evidence has led so many of these talking heads to come to such a conclusion?

Well, the following are 11 reasons why so many experts now believe that a U.S. economic crisis is imminent…

#1 Last week, the “spread between the U.S. 2-year and 10-year yields” turned negative for the very first time in 12 years.  An inversion of the yield curve has occurred prior to every single U.S. recession since the 1950s, and this is one of the most important economic signals that we have seen yet.

#2 U.S. consumer sentiment just fell to the lowest level that we have seen in all of 2019.

#3 74 percent of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that a recession will begin in the United States by the end of 2021.

#4 U.S. industrial production just slipped back into contraction territory.

#5 The IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index just fell to the lowest level that we have seen since September 2009.

#6 Just like we witnessed in 2008, fear and volatility have returned to Wall Street in a major way.  In fact, so far this month we have already seen the 4th and 7th largest single day point declines in U.S. stock market history.

#7 The total number of bankruptcy filings in the United States has been steadily shooting up, and it rose another 5 percent during the month of July.

#8 Major U.S. retailers continue to shut down more stores, and we have continued to stay on a pace that would break the all-time record for store closings in a single year.

#9 As I discussed yesterday, on a year over year basis U.S. freight shipment volume has now fallen for 8 months in a row.

#10 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the probability that a recession will happen within the next 12 months is now the highest that it has been since the last financial crisis.

#11 President Trump is suggesting that the Federal Reserve should cut interest rates by 100 basis points and that the Fed should restart quantitative easing as soon as possible.  Both of those moves would be considered to be “emergency measures” that should only happen if a major economic downturn was imminent.

In that list, I didn’t even mention our rapidly escalating trade war with China.  The two largest economies on the entire planet are engaged in an extremely bitter trade dispute, and that alone has the potential to plunge the entire global economy into a very deep downturn.

On the surface, the Trump administration is trying to assure us that everything is going to be just fine, but behind the scenes they appear to be preparing for the worst.  For example, we have just learned that the Trump administration is actually considering pushing for an emergency payroll tax cut

Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown, three people familiar with the discussions said, revealing the growing concerns by President Donald Trump’s top economic aides.

The talks are still in their early stages, and the officials have not decided whether to formally push Congress to approve the cut, these people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose internal discussions. But the White House in recent days has begun searching for proposals that could halt a slowing economy.

If the U.S. economy really was “booming”, an emergency payroll tax cut wouldn’t make any sense at all.

But if we are on the verge of a very serious economic crisis, then such a move would make perfect sense.

Of course the U.S. is definitely not the only major economy that is facing serious troubles.  In fact, signs of economic trouble have been emerging all over the globe lately

The economies in Germany, Brazil, Italy, Mexico and a number of other countries are also showing vulnerabilities, experts say. The uncertainty is exacerbated by fears of the potential financial fallout that could happen if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in October without first reaching a deal on the terms of its departure.

In particular, developments in Germany are quite troubling.  Their economy actually contracted last quarter, and the German government is “preparing to embrace new fiscal stimulus measures should its economy stumble into a deep recession”

Nearly two weeks after Der Spiegel sent its first trial balloon about the prospects that the German government might crank up its fiscal stimulus if Europe’s largest economy slides into recession (which, as we explained last week, is already on the cusp of doing), the trial balloons have crossed the Atlantic.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that the German government is preparing to embrace new fiscal stimulus measures should its economy stumble into a deep recession, “citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter.”

We haven’t seen talk like this in a very, very long time.  For many people, the extreme pain caused by the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 has almost faded from memory, but the truth is that many experts believe that what is ahead is going to be even worse.

If everything was going to be just fine, President Trump would not be trying to get the Federal Reserve to make extremely deep interest rate cuts.  In life, what people do is far more important than what they say, and the moves that global leaders are making right now are telling us that huge trouble is coming.

So enjoy the relative stability that we are currently experiencing while you still can, because it looks like it won’t be lasting for too 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.

In The U.S., A Transportation Recession Has Already Officially Arrived

A transportation recession often precedes a recession for the entire economy, and while the debate about when the U.S. economy as a whole will plunge into a recession is quite vigorous right now, the truth is that the debate is over regarding when a transportation recession will begin.  Throughout 2017 and most of 2018, U.S. freight shipment volume was booming, and that was a very strong sign that overall economic activity was rising.  But when economic activity begins to decline, freight shipment volume often goes negative, and that is precisely what is happening right now.  In fact, U.S. freight shipment volume has now declined on a year over year basis for eight months in a row

Freight shipments within the US by all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – fell 5.9% in July 2019, compared to July 2018, the eighth month in a row of year-over-year declines, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments, which tracks shipments of consumer and industrial goods but not of bulk commodities such as grains. This decline along with the 6.0% drop in May were the steepest year-over-year declines in freight shipments since the Financial Crisis

When something happens for eight months in a row, that is definitely a trend, and we haven’t seen declines of this magnitude since the last recession.

And other numbers confirm what the Cass Freight Index is telling us.  For example, ACT Research says that the trucking industry is officially in a recession after “two consecutive quarters of negative growth”

The trucking industry is officially in a recession, according to data tracked by ACT Research.

After months of suggesting a pullback was possible, ACT President Kenny Vieth told FreightWaves on Thursday, July 11 that all metrics his firm tracks meet the technical definition of a recession – two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Every freight metric we look at has been negative for at least six months,” he said.

Of course it is possible that the transportation industry could pull out of this recession without the U.S. economy as a whole dipping into one, but I wouldn’t count on it this time.

As I have been documenting for months, just about every economic indicator is telling us that big trouble is ahead.

And more bad news just keeps rolling in on a daily basis.  In fact, we just learned that yet another major retailer is shutting down all of their stores

Plus-size women’s clothing retailer Avenue Stores, LLC is shutting down all locations.

On Wednesday, the company announced plans to close all 222 stores across 33 states. Everything from clothing to store fixtures will be sold from locations across America, according to a press release.

Usually major retailers don’t do this sort of thing so late in the year.  If at all possible, there is usually an all-out effort to hang on through the highly lucrative Christmas season, and so things must have been really bad for Avenue Stores to pull the plug here in mid-August.

And all of this is happening even though interest rates are still much lower than the long-term average and the federal government is borrowing and spending money like there is no tomorrow.  According to Wolf Richter, our national debt is up by more than a trillion dollars over the last 12 months…

The US Gross National Debt has jumped by $363 billion in the two weeks since President Trump signed the law that suspended the debt ceiling. This surge pushed the total debt to $22.39 trillion. That’s up by $1.01 trillion from 12 months ago. And these are the good times.

This is emergency level spending, and it has been happening while the U.S. economy has still been relatively stable.

When the federal government borrows money that it does not have and spends it into the economy, that tends to boost overall economic activity and raise GDP numbers.  This was Barack Obama’s favorite economic trick, and Donald Trump has followed right in his footsteps.  But of course in the process we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.  What we are doing to future generations of Americans is beyond criminal, and all of us should be deeply disgusted by what is happening.

But of course the politicians in D.C. are deathly afraid to do anything about our exploding debt, because if we cut spending to sustainable levels that would immediately plunge the U.S. economy into a horrific recession.  And when bad economic times come, voters tend to vote out the people that are already holding office.

For President Trump, keeping the U.S. economy out of a recession is absolutely critical to his chances of winning in 2020, and he knows it.

His opponents know it too, and that is why many of them are openly rooting for a recession.  For instance, just check out what Bill Maher said on his show on Friday

HBO’s Real Time host Bill Maher made another desperate plea for a recession on Friday, saying that the economic downturn “would be very worth getting rid of Donald Trump.”

“So I’ve been saying for about two years that I hope we have a recession,” Bill Maher said. “And people get mad at me, as Sean Hannity thinks I’m actually causing a recession. I’m just saying we can survive a recession. We’ve had 47 of them. We’ve had one every time there’s a Republican president.”

“So, yes, a recession would be very worth getting rid of Donald Trump and these kind of policies,” Maher said after citing a dubious United Nations report that claims a million species are at risk of extinction.

On the other side, President Trump and his team are going to try to make things seem as rosy as possible between now and election day.

So they will keep telling us that everything is just wonderful, and they will keep insisting that a recession is not coming

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Sunday he does not forecast a recession “at all,” despite warning signs exhibited by the bond market last week.

“First of all, I don’t see a recession at all,” Kudlow told “Fox News Sunday.” “Second of all, the Trump pro-growth program, which I believe has been succeeding – lower tax rates, big rollback of regulations, energy opening, trade reform – we’re gonna stay with that. We believe that’s the heart of the free enterprise. We want an incentive-oriented supply-side economy, providing opportunities for everybody across the board.”

In the end, it really isn’t going to matter who is in the White House.  What is coming to America is going to be extremely painful, and we are about to reap the consequences for decades of incredibly foolish decisions.

How we view reality should never be distorted based on what political party we identify with.  When we willingly choose not to see things objectively, we become very susceptible to deception.

The truth is always going to be the truth, and in our case the truth is not pretty.

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.

Middle Class Death Spiral: Consumers Have Never Been In More Debt, And Bankruptcies Are Surging

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  During the relative economic stability of the past few years, the middle class was supposed to experience a resurgence, but instead it has just continued to be hollowed out.  The cost of living has risen much faster than wages have, and as a result hard working families all over America are being stretched financially like never before.  Even though most of us are working, 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck, and almost 50 million Americans are living in poverty.  In a desperate attempt to continue their middle class lifestyles, many Americans have been piling up mountains of debt, and it has gotten to the point where we have a major crisis on our hands.

According to the New York Post, the total amount of debt that U.S. households have accumulated is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark for the first time ever…

Meanwhile, record American household debt, near $14 trillion including mortgages and student loans, is some $1 trillion higher than during the Great Recession of 2008. Credit card debt of $1 trillion also exceeds the 2008 peak.

Americans are spending heavily, again — and often recklessly, say analysts.

This is the exact opposite of what U.S. consumers should be doing.  We can see signs of a fresh economic slowdown all around us, and consumers should be feverishly trying to get out of debt as fast as they can.

But instead, debt levels just keep setting record after record.  In fact, total student loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.605 trillion dollars, and auto loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.174 trillion dollars.

It would be one thing if we could handle all of this debt, but that isn’t the case.  Bankruptcies have been steadily rising, and according to the latest figures the number of bankruptcy filings shot up another 5 percent in the month of July

Bankruptcy petitions for consumers and businesses are on the rise. There was a 5% increase in total bankruptcy filings in July 2019 from the previous month, the American Bankruptcy Institute said this week. There were 64,283 bankruptcy filings, up from 62,241 for the same period last year.

Unfortunately, this is probably just the beginning.

Right now, most of the country is living on the edge financially, and so a major economic slowdown would inevitably cause another enormous tsunami of consumer bankruptcies like we saw in 2008.

Even now, things are already so bad that many hard working “middle class” workers in high-cost cities such as New York are so financially stretched that they have to rely on free food from local food banks

“In high-cost cities like New York, personal incomes are not often enough to pay the household bills,” Zac Hall, vice president of anti-poverty programs at the Food Bank For New York City, told The Post. “We are seeing people using consumer debt as a way to make ends meet when they come here,” he added, citing the pressures his nonprofit faces to keep up the distribution of food and meals at no cost to some 1.5 million New Yorkers.

If 1.5 million people in New York are being fed by food banks now while things are still relatively stable, how bad will things be when the economy really starts to tank?

For decades, the “almighty U.S. consumer” was one of the fundamental pillars of our economy, but now that is no longer true.

U.S. consumers simply do not have a lot of discretionary income to spend these days, and this is killing major retailers all over the nation.  We are on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and within the past 7 days more big retailers have announced that they will be permanently shutting down stores.

For example, Walgreens just announced that they will be closing “approximately 200 U.S. stores”

Walgreens plans to close approximately 200 U.S. stores, the company announced Tuesday in an SEC filing.

According to the document posted Tuesday on the Securities and Exchange Commission website, the move to close stores follows “a review of the real estate footprint in the United States.”

That wouldn’t be happening if the U.S. economy really was “booming”.

Here is another example that comes to us from Wolf Street

A’Gaci, a young women’s fashion retailer based in Texas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday, for the second time, after having filed for the first time in January 2018. This time, it will liquidate. All its remaining 54 stores in seven states and Puerto Rico will be closed – the “bulk” of them by the end of this month.

In addition, we just learned that Party City is going to be closing more stores than expected in 2019

Party City is increasing the number of stores expected to shutter this year.

The New Jersey-based party supplies company said it was looking to close 55 stores throughout the year, up 10 from the May estimate of 45 stores.

I honestly don’t know what malls and shopping centers all over the U.S. are going to do.  I once warned of a future in which America’s landscape would be littered with abandoned stores, and that future has now arrived.

For the moment, those at the very top of the economic pyramid are still doing okay, but the middle class is eroding a little bit more with each passing day.  For much more on this, I would encourage you to check out this Youtube video by Jeremiah Babe.

I have been writing about the evisceration of the U.S. middle class for a decade, and the condition of the middle class right now is as bad as I have ever seen it.

And as we plunge into this new economic downturn, things are only going to get worse.  The middle class is absolutely drowning in debt, and even a mild recession would be enough to financially wipe out millions of American families.

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.

“Worst Year Ever”: The Chinese Ban On U.S. Agricultural Products Will Be A Death Blow For Countless U.S. Farms

U.S. farmers have never experienced a year quite like this.  During the first half of 2019, endless rain and unprecedented flooding were the major problems.  As a result of the incredibly wet conditions, millions of acres of prime farmland didn’t get planted at all, and tens of millions of other acres are going to yield a lot less than usual.  Even without anything else happening, we were going to see farm bankruptcies soar to absolutely crazy levels, but now the Chinese government is essentially cutting off U.S. agricultural imports.  This will greatly depress the prices that U.S. farmers get for their crops, and so many farmers that were still hoping to squeeze out a profit for this year will be hit with a loss instead.  Ultimately, the truth is that 2019 is going to be a death blow for countless U.S. farmers that were barely hanging on financially after a string of really tough years.  Many will leave the industry entirely and never go back to farming again, and our nation will be worse off because of it.

When the Chinese announced that they were going to completely stop buying U.S. agricultural products, it sent shockwaves across the middle portion of the country.  According to the executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau, our farmers and ranchers will now be facing “just a really tough, tough time”

“This is a body blow to farmers and ranchers all across the country,” Dale Moore, executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau, told FOX Business. “That’s one of the things that we are feeling the effects of, and this is on top of a year when mother nature has been a terrible business partner in many parts of the country. It’s just a really tough, tough time for farmers and ranchers in this country.”

Shares of industrial, farming, oil and transportation companies have plummeted, a direct result of the increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Of course President Trump is trying to be upbeat and he is promising that the Chinese will not be able to hurt our farmers, but the truth is that they already have.

Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural products fell by more than half from 2017 to 2018, and now they are going to zero.  The following comes from Fox Business

Despite Trump’s tweet, American farmers now stand to lose all of what was a $9.1 billion market in 2018, which was down sharply from the $19.5 billion U.S. farmers exported to China in 2017.

Unfortunately for U.S. farmers, they are caught right in the middle of a tug of war between the Chinese government and President Trump, and China specifically went after U.S. farmers in order to hurt Trump politically

China’s new agricultural ban has an additional benefit to the Chinese of maximizing negative political impact to Trump.

Important presidential election swing states in the Midwest grain belt such as Iowa and Wisconsin were vital to his 2016 election victory. Cutting this particular area of bilateral trade at a time when American farmers are recovering from the after-effects of this year’s floods is a potent way for Beijing to punch back against President Trump’s new tariffs.

If the presidential election was held this November, it would be really difficult for Trump to win in Iowa in Wisconsin.  Of course much can change between now and November 2020, but right now Trump is definitely losing support in the middle of the country.

Speaking of Wisconsin, it just happens to be one of the states that currently has the highest number of farm bankruptcy filings

Since last June, there have been a staggering 535 Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings, a 13 percent increase. Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin had the highest number of filings.

As a result, Congress passed the Family Farmer Relief Act to update the eligibility requirements for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, raising the debt limit from $4.1 million to $10 million — giving more farmers the chance to declare bankruptcy, thereby offering their producers and creditors a better chance to recognize and avoid mass liquidation.

President Trump will try to keep as many farms going as possible with his massive aid packages, but the truth is that even with those aid packages it is inevitable that farm bankruptcies will continue to surge.

In fact, they are already at the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

What U.S. farmers really need is an end to the trade war and for the Chinese to start buying from them again.

Sadly, that is just not going to happen.  At this point, even Goldman Sachs is admitting that there will not be a trade deal with China before the 2020 presidential election…

Analysts at Goldman Sachs no longer think the U.S. and China will manage to negotiate a trade deal ahead of the 2020 presidential election — which is more than 15 months away.

“We had expected a final round of tariffs targeting remaining Chinese imports at a 10 percent rate,” the analysts, led by chief U.S. economist Jan Hatzius, wrote in a note to clients. “But news since President Trump’s tariff announcement last Thursday indicates that U.S. and Chinese policymakers are taking a harder line, and we no longer expect a trade deal before the 2020 election.”

This means that things will continue to go from bad to worse for U.S. farmers, and this will take a major toll on the U.S. economy as a whole.

We have entered the time of “the perfect storm”, and things are definitely not going to get any easier in the months ahead.

I wish that I had better news for you, but I don’t.  Global events are starting to greatly accelerate, and so many of the things that we have been warned about are starting to happen right in front of our eyes.

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.

$1,400,000,000,000 Gone In Less Than A Week – Stock Market In Turmoil As The Trade War Dramatically Escalates

Our trade war with China has begun to spiral out of control, and as a result global financial markets have been thrown into a state of turmoil.  On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 767 points, and that represented the sixth-largest single day stock market decline in all of U.S. history.  To put that into perspective, the biggest single day decline during the financial crisis of 2008 was just 777 points.  So what we witnessed on Monday was definitely very serious.  And the Nasdaq just got absolutely monkey-hammered as well.  On a percentage basis, it was down even more than the Dow was, and it has now fallen for six days in a row.  We have not seen a losing streak that long for the Nasdaq since President Trump was elected, and some analysts are convinced that even more chaos is on the way.

Overall, 1.4 trillion dollars in stock market wealth has been completely wiped out in less than a week

It took just four brutal trading days for a $1.4 trillion wipeout in the S&P 500 stock value. From the Federal Reserve’s disappointing comments on the future of interest rates to President Donald Trump’s surprise tariffs to China’s weaponizing of the yuan, the record-long bull market took a big hit in a relatively short time.

European stocks have been getting clobbered as well.  In fact, they just experienced their largest two day decline in three years.

After Trump imposed another wave of tariffs on China at the end of last week, we knew that the Chinese would retaliate.  But we expected that the retaliation would be at least somewhat proportional.

Instead, they decided to bring down the hammer.

When Chris Krueger was asked about China’s retaliation, he said that “on a scale of 1-10, it’s an 11”.  The Chinese have announced that they are going to completely stop buying U.S. agricultural products, and they shocked global financial markets when they allowed the yuan to drop like a rock early on Monday.  In response, the U.S. Treasury Department formally designated China as a “currency manipulator”, and it appears that any hopes for a trade deal between the United States and China before the 2020 presidential election are completely and utterly dead.  For an extended analysis of these events, please see the article that I just posted entitled “China Just Went Nuclear In The Trade War, And There Is No Turning Back Now”.

All along, most investors seemed to believe that all of the angry talk would eventually fade and that the U.S. and China would be able to work things out.

But that didn’t happen, and now we have crossed the point of no return.  Financial markets are finally starting to realize that this trade war is going to have very, very serious implications for major U.S. corporations, and this will especially be true for our largest tech companies.

Over the past two trading days, the big five tech companies have combined to lose 228 billion dollars in market value…

Tech’s big five companies lost $66 billion in market value on Friday, and Monday’s plunge brought the two-day drop to $228 billion. Apple had the biggest percentage decline, falling 5.2%. Apple told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in June that the latest proposed tariffs would hit “all of Apple’s major products.” Some analysts are projecting a significant impact.

Meanwhile, by the way, the price of gold has been soaring.

As I have repeatedly argued, something definitely needed to be done about China, but trying to bully them into making a deal was never, ever going to work.

They are a very proud people, and once we started repeatedly pushing them extremely hard, it was just a matter of time before they started pushing back

“Your back is put against the wall and you’re constantly being attacked. Pride starts to kick in, and it’s not surprising China has started to assert some of its force,” said Greg Peters, head of multi sector and strategy at PGIM Fixed Income. “I’m not sure what that means in real terms. It’s not different than any other life situations. You push someone hard enough and they start pushing back. … I never thought it was a good idea to act like it’s a scorched earth policy – I win, you lose. I continue to think that was never viable for the Chinese.”

Being aggressive can be an effective negotiating tool, but if you push too hard and too fast you run the risk of completely alienating the other party.

That appears to be what has happened in this case, and now all hopes for a trade deal are completely dead.  As Bonnie Glaser has noted, the “potential for compromise has past”…

“The timing couldn’t be worse,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The potential for compromise has past. Both sides are digging in and both leaders are first and foremost concerned about their domestic audiences. Politics is in the lead.”

Hopefully the markets will bounce back on Tuesday.  After being down quite a bit earlier, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are trading slightly higher as I write this article.

However, the truth is that this crisis isn’t going away.  There isn’t going to be a trade deal with China, and that is going to mean a tremendous amount of pain for the global economy.

When a financial bubble pops, usually there is some sort of trigger that causes it to happen.  In 2008, it was the subprime mortgage meltdown.  This time around, it looks like the trigger could be our trade war with China.

As I noted a few days ago, our financial markets are more primed for a crash than they have ever been before.  And we are moving into the season when big crashes tend to happen.

Things have not looked this ominous since 2008, and a lot of investors are starting to get very nervous.

We shall see how the rest of this year plays out, but right now events certainly seem to be moving in a very alarming direction.

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 Pain Of This New Economic Downturn Is Starting To Show Up All Over The Country

It is going to take a miracle for the U.S. economy to pull out of this tailspin, because the economic numbers are really starting to deteriorate very rapidly now.  On Tuesday we got some more new numbers, and they were just as bad as we thought they might be.  But even before today’s numbers all of the data were telling us the exact same thing.  The New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index just suffered the worst one month decline in U.S. history, Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index just suffered the largest one month decline that we have ever seen, global trade numbers are the worst they have been since the last recession, and just last week I detailed the complete and utter “bloodbath” that we are witnessing in the U.S. trucking industry right now.  So considering what we already knew, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that new home sales in the U.S. were down a whopping 7.8 percent during the month of May…

Sales of new U.S. homes slumped 7.8% in May, as sales plunged in the pricier Northeastern and Western markets.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 626,000 in May, down from 679,000 in April. During the first five months of the year, purchases of new homes have fallen 3.7% compared to the same period in 2018.

Those are absolutely horrible numbers, and this is precisely what a recession looks like.

On Tuesday we also learned that U.S. consumer confidence is rapidly declining

Consumer confidence is on the decline.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index tumbled to 121.5 in June, dropping from a downwardly revised reading of 131.3 in May and snapping three consecutive months of improvements.

June’s results missed consensus expectations for a reading of 131.0, according to Bloomberg-compiled data, and marked the lowest level in nearly two years.

Once again, this is precisely what we would expect to see during a recession.

And yet I continue to see some clueless mainstream media reports that insist that the U.S. economy is doing well.  Apparently FedEx didn’t get that memo, because they lost nearly 2 billion dollars in the quarter ending May 31st…

In the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended May 31, FedEx reported a loss of $1.97 billion, compared with profit of $1.13 billion a year earlier.

FedEx blamed this horrible number on the ongoing global economic slowdown, and unfortunately things are not likely to get any better for them any time soon.

Many in the mainstream media continue to speak of “the next recession” as some future event, but when we get the final economic numbers many months from now we may discover that it had already started by now.  In fact, one prominent economist recently stated that he believes that “we’re probably already in a recession”

Gary Shilling, an economist and financial analyst who is credited with predicting several recessions over the past 40 years, thinks the U.S. is in a relatively mild slump.

“I think we’re probably already in a recession but I think it will probably be a run-of-the-mill affair, which means real GDP would decline 1.5% to 2%, not the 3.5% to 4% you had in the very serious recessions,” Shilling, president of economic and financial research firm A. Shilling & Co., said in a recent interview broadcast this week by Real Vision.

And even Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is now admitting that our economic outlook has become “cloudier”.  The following comes from ABC News

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday the economic outlook has become cloudier since early May, with rising uncertainties over trade and global growth causing the central bank to reassess its next move on interest rates.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Powell said the Fed is now grappling with the question of whether those uncertainties will continue to weigh on the outlook and require action.

I find it very interesting that Powell chose the Council on Foreign Relations as the venue for this address.  I think that tells us a lot about where Powell’s true loyalties are.  The Council on Foreign Relations has dominated the political landscape in Washington for a long time, and this has been true no matter which political party has been in power.

Meanwhile, the global trade war continues to intensify, and over 300 companies are literally begging the Trump administration to find a way to end it

More than 300 companies are talking to government officials in Washington this month about how detrimental the trade war between the U.S. and China has been and will be to their business.

Testifying in front of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, major U.S. companies including Best Buy, HP and Hallmark Cards are voicing concerns about how the additional tariffs that President Donald Trump threatened to slap on China would impact their businesses and cause them to lose business to foreign competitors.

Sadly, it isn’t likely that the trade war will end any time soon.

In fact, it is probably much more likely that a shooting war will start in the Middle East instead.  And if that happens, our current economic problems will dramatically escalate.

The wheels are starting to come off, and the U.S. economy is beginning to spin out of control.  Perhaps the Federal Reserve will be able to pull another rabbit out of the hat and pull off a miracle once again, but I doubt it.  We haven’t seen conditions like this since the great financial crisis of 2008, and the remainder of 2019 threatens to be extremely “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.

U.S. Steel Plants Are Going Idle, But The Fed Continues To Perpetuate The Myth That Everything Is Just Fine

Even though there is a tremendous amount of evidence to the contrary, the Federal Reserve continues to insist that the U.S. economy is in good shape.  On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told the nation that “the economy has performed relatively well” in 2019 and he insisted that “the baseline outlook is a good one.”  Of course he didn’t say anything about our collapsing manufacturing numbers, the worst global trade numbers since the last recession or the “bloodbath” in the U.S. trucking industry.  Powell did concede that “the risk of less favorable outcomes has risen”, but other than vague statements like that he really didn’t acknowledge our growing economic problems at all.  Considering the fact that Powell has more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else in the entire country, this should deeply concern all of us.  To me, Powell’s performance on Wednesday was quite reminiscent of the moment in 2008 when Fed Chair Ben Bernanke told us that the Federal Reserve was not “currently forecasting a recession” after a recession had already begun.

As I have been documenting for weeks, evidence that another major economic downturn has already started can be clearly seen all around us.

For example, we got some very alarming news from the steel industry on Wednesday.  When the Trump administration slapped a 25 percent tariff on steel imports last year, that was supposed to greatly help the U.S. steel industry.  But instead, a dramatic drop in demand due to this new economic downturn is forcing steel companies to take dramatic measures.  According to CNN, U.S. Steel just announced that it will be shutting down a blast furnace in Gary, Indiana and another one that is located just outside of Detroit…

Pain has returned to the US steel industry despite the tariffs put on imported steel last year that were designed to help.

Late Tuesday US Steel announced it will idle two of the blast furnaces where it makes steel, one in its flagship mill in Gary, Indiana, near Chicago, the other in Ecorse, Michigan, near Detroit. The idled furnaces will cut production by about 200,000 tons of steel or more a month, the company said.

“We will resume blast furnace production at one or both idled blast furnaces when market conditions improve,” said the company.

But when will market conditions improve?

In 2020?

After this new economic downturn is over?

Never?

Of course U.S. Steel is not the only steel producer that is hurting right now.  In fact, Nucor and Steel Dynamics have both cut profit forecasts

US Steel’s action follows similar warnings Monday from Nucor, the nation’s largest steelmaker, and Steel Dynamics. Both are now forecasting lower profits. Nucor pointed to weaker demand from the US auto industry.

Sadly, the truth is that major industry after major industry is deeply suffering at this moment…

-Our ongoing “retail apocalypse” is absolutely brutalizing the retail industry, and we are on pace to have the worst year for store closings in our entire history.

-Auto industry sales have been absolutely abysmal, and auto loan delinquencies have shot up to alarmingly high levels.

-The agriculture industry is going to have the worst year it has seen in at least several decades.

-Our 800 billion dollar trucking industry is already in the midst of a “bloodbath”.

-The real estate industry is poised for the worst downturn that we have seen since the subprime mortgage meltdown during the last financial crisis.

-The manufacturing industry has not seen numbers this bad since the last recession, and things are rapidly getting worse.

But yeah, let’s tell the American people that the economy is “booming” and see if they will buy it.

Really?

Let’s get real.  The U.S. economy is mired in the worst slump in a decade, and economic conditions continue to deteriorate rapidly.  The Federal Reserve could have given us a short-term boost by cutting interest rates on Wednesday, but they decided not to do that

A divided Federal Reserve held the line on interest rates Wednesday and indicated formally that no cuts are coming in 2019. The decision came amid divisions over what is ahead and still leaves open the possibility that policy loosening could happen before the end of the year depending on how conditions unfold.

The central bank predicts one or two rate cuts in its set of economic predictions, but not until 2020. Despite cautious wording in the post-meeting statement Wednesday, markets are still betting the Fed cuts, as soon as July.

Perhaps they want to save their very limited ammunition for when the recession officially starts, and I can understand that.

But this latest move by the Fed is definitely not going to please President Trump, and it will likely prompt more speculation that Trump would like to demote Powell

The action sets up a possible confrontation between Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and President Donald Trump, who has been pressuring the Fed to cut rates. Just Tuesday, Trump said “let’s see what he does” at the Fed meeting when asked if he still wants to demote Powell.

At the post-statement news conference, Powell was asked about his future as chairman. “I think the law is clear that I have a four year term, and I fully intend to serve it,” he said.

Trump needs the U.S. economy to be as strong as possible as he heads into an election year.

The stronger the U.S. economy is, the more likely it is that he will be re-elected.

And actually the Federal Reserve may be doing Trump a favor by trying to perpetuate the myth that everything is just fine.  Because if the Fed had cut rates on Wednesday, it would have essentially been an admission that a new recession is on our doorstep.  As John P. Hussman has aptly pointed out, almost every initial rate cut in history “has been associated with an oncoming or ongoing recession”…

With the exception of 1967 and 1996, every initial Fed rate cut has been associated with an oncoming or ongoing recession. Be careful what you wish for.

So for now, the Fed seems to have adopted a “fake it until you make it” approach, and sometimes that can work.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is going to work this time.  And meanwhile millions upon millions of Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security, and they are not getting prepared for the exceedingly hard times that are coming.

One of my readers recently left a comment in which he stated that what we are facing “is not a drill”, and I believe that he is quite correct.

We haven’t seen economic conditions anything like this since the last recession, and the outlook is getting worse with each passing day.

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.

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