We Just Got Some Good Economic News

When some good economic news comes along, we should be thankful for it, because such moments are becoming increasingly rare.  On Friday, the Labor Department announced that the U.S. economy added 128,000 jobs last month, and that definitely exceeded expectations.  Of course the truth is that the U.S. economy didn’t actually add 128,000 jobs last month.  That number is just a heavily manipulated estimate that is adjusted to smooth out “seasonal fluctuations”, and it will be revised multiple times in the future as more data becomes available.  In other words, the government is giving us an educated guess about what they think might have happened, and it is based on certain assumptions that may or may not be reasonable.  But considering all of the other horrible economic news that we have been getting lately, any number above zero is a reason to celebrate.  The employment situation in this country still appears to be relatively stable, and we should hope that continues to be the case for as long as possible.

Of course nobody should be using words like “boom” or “booming” to describe what is happening.  An increase of 128,000 jobs in one month is not nearly enough to keep up with population growth.

So if the U.S. economy actually did add 128,000 jobs last month, the truth is that we would actually be losing ground.

But at least the jobs number was significantly better that most analysts were projecting

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 128,000 in October as the U.S. economy overcame the weight of the GM autoworkers’ strike and created jobs at a pace well above expectations.

Even with a decline of 42,000 in the motor vehicles and parts industry, the pace of new jobs well exceeded the estimate of 75,000 from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The loss of jobs came due to the General Motors strike that has since been settled. That 42,000 job loss itself was less than the 50,000 or more that many economists had been anticipating.

Hopefully we can have at least a couple more months like this one before the job losses really start becoming severe.

But this is definitely not an indication that the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction.  Because job gains did not keep up with population growth, it makes sense that the unemployment rate actually went up last month

The unemployment rate, which is calculated from a different survey, rose from a 50-year low of 3.5% to 3.6%, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s because a strong increase in employment was offset by an even bigger rise in the labor force, which includes Americans working and looking for jobs.

Also, it is very important that you do not let that “3.6 percent” figure fool you.

As John Williams has documented, if honest numbers were being used the unemployment rate in the United States would currently be 21 percent.  That is down a couple of percent from the peak of the last employment crisis, but it is still not good at all.

And even though the jobs number that we just got was good news, more bad economic news continues to pour in at an alarming rate.  According to the latest projection from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the U.S. economy is on track to grow at a rate of just 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter…

The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2019 is 1.1 percent on November 1, down from 1.5 percent on October 31. After this morning’s release of the employment report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business from the Institute for Supply Management, and the construction spending report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the nowcasts of fourth-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth and fourth-quarter real gross private domestic investment growth decreased from 2.3 percent and -0.7 percent, respectively, to 2.2 percent and -2.5 percent, respectively.

That is horrible, but at least it is still a number that is above zero.

Unfortunately, GDP growth for our neighbor to the south has already fallen below that line.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

In the third quarter of 2019, Mexico notched up its first year-over-year decline in GDP since the final quarter of 2009, when it was in the midst of a sharp recession brought on by the Financial Crisis. According to a preliminary estimate published by Mexico’s statistical institute INEGI, in the third quarter, the economy shrank 0.4% compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

So what should we make of all this?

Clearly, the U.S. economy is slowing down.  The temporary reprieve that we have been enjoying for the past few years appears to be ending, but the jobs number that we got today indicates that it is not done quite yet.

Ultimately, that is good news.

One of the most precious resources that any of us has is time.  If the U.S. economy can remain at least somewhat stable for a little while longer, that buys us some time, and all of us should be using that time wisely.

Because the truth is that the clock is ticking, and economic conditions in the United States are about to make a dramatic turn for the worse.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep.  My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters.  (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing those books you help to support my work.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I can only allow this to happen if this “About the Author” section is included with each article.  In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished.  This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Goodbye Middle Class: 50 Percent Of American Workers Make Less Than 33,000 Dollars A Year

The truth is that most American families are deeply struggling, but you hardly ever hear this from the mainstream media.  Yes, about 10 percent of all American workers are making $100,000 or more a year, but most of those high paying jobs are concentrated in the major cities along the east and west coasts.  For much of the rest of the country, these are very challenging times as the cost of living soars but their paychecks do not.  According to the Social Security Administration, the median income in the United States last year was just $32,838.05.  In other words, 50 percent of American workers made more than $32,838.05 and 50 percent of American workers made less than $32,838.05 in 2018.  Let’s be generous and round that number up to $33,000, and when you break it down on a monthly basis it comes to just $2,750 a month.  Of course nobody can support a middle class lifestyle for a family of four on $2,750 a month before taxes, and so in most families more than one person is working these days.  In fact, in many families today more than one person is working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet, and it still is often not quite enough.

If you want to look at the Social Security wage statistics for yourself, you can find them right here.  As you will see, I am not making these numbers up.

These days many would have us feel bad if we are not making at least $100,000 a year, but according to the report only about 10 percent of all American workers make that much money.

Instead, most Americans are in what I would call “the barely getting by” category.  Here are some key facts that I pulled out of the report…

-33 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-46 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-58 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-67 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

That means that approximately two-thirds of all American workers are making $4,000 or less a month before taxes.

Ouch.

But these numbers help us to understand why survey after survey has shown that most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  After paying the bills, there just isn’t much money left for most of us.

And for an increasing number of Americans, even paying the bills has become exceedingly difficult.  In fact, a brand new report from UBS says that 44 percent of all U.S. consumers “don’t make enough money to cover their expenses”…

Low-income consumers are struggling to make ends meet despite the “greatest economy ever,” and if a recession strikes or the employment cycle continues to decelerate — this could mean the average American with insurmountable debts will likely fall behind on their debt servicing payments, according to a UBS report, first reported by Bloomberg.

UBS analyst Matthew Mish wrote in a recent report that 44% of consumers don’t make enough money to cover their expenses.

That means that about half the country is flat broke and struggling just to survive financially.

Of course those at the top of the economic food chain often don’t have a lot of sympathy for those that are hurting.  Many of them have the attitude that those that are struggling should just go out and get one of the “good jobs” that the mainstream media is endlessly touting.

But most jobs in the United States are not “good jobs”.

Today, the poverty level for a household of four in the United States is $25,750.  More than 40 percent of the workers in this country make less than that each year.

Starting a business is always an option, but that takes money, and thanks to government regulations it is harder than ever to run a small business successfully.

Just look at what is happening to our dairy farmers.  There are few occupations that are more quintessentially “American” than being a dairy farmer, and since most people drink milk and eat cheese, you would think that it would be a pretty safe profession.

But instead, dairy farms are shutting down at a pace that is absolutely chilling all over the nation.  For example, just check out what has been going on in Wisconsin

Wisconsin lost another 42 dairy farms in July, and since January 1, has lost 491 farms, reports the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

At this rate, the Dairy State could lose 735 dairy farms this year, which would be a decline of 9%. In 2018, the state lost 691 farms, a rate of decline of 7.9%.

Over the last decade the state has lost more than 5,000 farms, or 40% of its licensed dairy farms. To state the obvious, the current rate of exits is more than double that of the last decade.

So why is this happening?

Government.

In profession after profession, government control freaks have made it nearly impossible to make a living, and this has pushed the percentage of Americans that are self-employed to historic lows.

If you are struggling right now, I want you to know that you are not alone.  There are tens of millions of other Americans that are really hurting in this economy, and the bad news is that economic conditions will soon get a lot worse.

But you can make it through whatever is ahead.  You just have to keep believing.

A lot of people accuse me of spreading “doom and gloom”, but that is not true at all.  There is hope in understand what is happening, and there is hope in getting prepared for the hard times that are ahead.  When you take steps to prepare, you are telling yourself and everyone around you that you believe that you can make it through the storm that is coming.

Or you could just have blind faith in the system, even though it is exceedingly obvious that the system is crumbling all around us.  Those that are blindly trusting the system to take care of them are building their dreams on a foundation of sand, and when the waves come crashing in those dreams are going to get washed away very quickly.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep.  I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters.  (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing those books you help to support my work.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I can only allow this to happen if this “About the Author” section is included with each article.  In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished.  This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Uh Oh: U.S. Layoffs Rise 38 Percent – Highest Level For August Since 2009

We continue to get more numbers that indicate that U.S. economic activity is really starting to slow down.  According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of layoffs in the United States was 38 percent higher in August than it was in July.  A 38 percent increase in one month is more than just a little bit startling, and many believe that if this momentum continues we could soon be facing an avalanche of job losses similar to what we witnessed in 2008.  And without a doubt, all of the other economic numbers that have been rolling in lately also confirm that the U.S. economy is heading into harder times.  But is our country ready to handle another major economic downturn?

Even though there have been moments of difficulty over the past decade, we truly haven’t seen anything like this since the last recession.  In fact, the latest job cut numbers that we just got from Challenger, Gray & Christmas are the highest that we have seen during any August since 2009

Employers also announced the most layoffs of any August since 2009, the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.

Job cuts rose 38 percent over July, with 53,480 positions to be slashed from employer payrolls, led by workforce reductions in health care, which had been a mainstay of recent job creation, the tech sector and manufacturing.

So why is this happening?

Well, certainly there are many factors at play, but Andrew Challenger has singled out “the trade war” as one of the biggest reasons

“Employers are beginning to feel the effects of the trade war and imposed tariffs by the US and China,” Andrew Challenger, the firm’s vice president, said in a statement.

Other nations are really starting to feel the effects of the trade war as well.  This week, Germany reported a startling drop in new manufacturing orders

Contracts for ‘Made in Germany’ goods fell 2.7% from the previous month in July, data showed on Thursday, driven by a big drop in bookings from non-euro zone countries, the economy ministry said. That undershot a Reuters consensus forecast for a 1.5% drop.

“The misery in manufacturing continues. The decline in new orders significantly increases the risk of a recession for the German economy,” VP Bank analyst Thomas Gitzel said.

During the second quarter, German GDP growth fell into negative territory, and it looks like that will happen again here in the third quarter.

That would mean that Germany is already in a recession right now, and that is very troubling news for all of Europe.

Here in the U.S., just about everything that we would expect to see happen just prior to the beginning of a recession is happening in textbook fashion right in front of our eyes.

In particular, the transportation industry is already mired in a very deep downturn, and we just learned that orders for heavy trucks in August were down by 80 percent compared to a year earlier…

Orders for heavy trucks that haul part of the economy’s goods across the US plunged by 80.1% in August 2019 compared to August last year, to about 10,400 orders, according to preliminary estimates by FTR Transportation Intelligence. It was the 10th month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the second month in a row of 80%-plus declines, with orders in July having plunged 81.2% to about 9,800, not seen since 2010.

I don’t know about you, but an 80 percent decline sure seems like an awfully big red flag to me.

Overall, it is still being projected that the U.S. economy will stay out of contraction territory in the third quarter, but GDP forecasts have continued to slip.  The following comes from Reuters

The U.S. economy is likely growing at a 1.7% annualized rate in the third quarter, based on weaker-than-forecast data on domestic manufacturing activity and construction spending, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecast model showed on Tuesday.

This was slower than the 2.0% pace estimated by the Atlanta Fed’s GDP program on Aug. 30.

In the end, any number above zero for the third quarter should be considered a big victory in this global economic environment.

But even if we eke out slight growth in the third quarter, nobody should be using the word “booming” to describe our economy.  In fact, we haven’t been “booming” for a very, very long time.  We haven’t had a full year when U.S. GDP grew by at least 3 percent since the middle of the Bush administration, and at this point nearly 40 percent of the nation struggles to pay for the basics

Many people still struggle to pay bills — even for something as basic as food.

That’s the difficult conclusion of a new report released this week by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy group based in Washington, D.C., which surveyed almost 7,600 adults last December. Some 39.4% of adults said their families had trouble meeting at least one basic need for food, health care, housing, or utilities last year.

The gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” continues to grow in our country, and that has dire implications for our future.  If those with money and power continue to have a “let them eat cake” attitude about all of this, eventually we will see chaos in our streets, and this is something that Umair Haque recently discussed

How can the economy be “strong” when 40% of people are struggling to eat? Isn’t that a little bit like the Hunger Games actually coming to life? Is that where America is now? What on earth?

Think about the fact itself for a second, before we discuss it — 40% of people in the world’s richest country struggle to afford food. It’s a “Let Them Eat Cake” moment happening before our eyes. How much more Versailles can you get? There’s nothing — nothing — more basic than being able to afford food. When a society can’t provide food for its people, it’s one of the most severe and fundamental indicators that something’s badly, badly wrong.

More government handouts are certainly not the answer.  The U.S. government already hands out money and benefits to more than 100 million people every month, and yet our problems just continue to escalate.

In the end, people want to be able to work hard and provide for their own families.  We need an economy that creates more good paying jobs and makes it easy to start businesses, and we haven’t had such an economy for a very long time.

And now it appears that we are heading into a new economic crisis.  The job losses are likely to escalate in the months ahead, and many believe that the economic pain that we will experience will be even greater than what we experienced during the last recession.

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.

This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen: U.S. Employment Growth Just Plunged To The Lowest Level In 9 Years

If the U.S. economy was heading into a recession, we would expect to see a slowdown in the employment numbers, and that is precisely what is happening.  According to payroll processing firm ADP, the U.S. economy only added 27,000 new jobs in May, and that is way below the number that is needed just to keep up with population growth.  Of course some in the mainstream media are attempting to put a positive spin on this, but there really is no denying that this is a truly awful number.  In fact, we have not seen a number this bad in more than 9 years

Job creation skidded to a near-halt in May in another sign that the U.S. economic momentum is slowing.

Companies added just 27,000 new positions during the month, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP and Moody’s Analytics that was well below Dow Jones estimates of 173,000.

The reading was the worst since around the time the economic expansion began and the jobs market bottomed in March 2010 with a loss of 113,000.

9 years is a very long time, but this terrible employment number is perfectly consistent with all of the other horrible economic numbers that have been rolling in lately.

Time after time in recent weeks I have been using phrases such as “since the last recession” to describe what we are witnessing.  The U.S. economy has not been in such rough shape in nearly a decade, and things just keep getting worse.

So how did Wall Street respond to the latest employment news?

Actually, stock prices surged, because investors are super excited about the prospect that the Federal Reserve could soon lower interest rates

Stocks added to strong week-to-date performance on Wednesday as investors grew even more confident that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates this year to reignite an economy wounded by trade battles.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 207.39 points to 25,539.57, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.8% to 2,826.15. The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.6% higher at 7,575.48.

Pushing interest rates all the way to the floor certainly helped the stock market recover after the last recession, but this time around there is a major twist.

The U.S. is currently engaged in a major trade war with China, and the normal tools that the Fed utilizes may not be powerful enough to overcome the negative effects of such a conflict.

And to make things worse, now the U.S. is also starting a trade war with Mexico.  On Wednesday, President Trump made it clear that “not nearly enough” progress had been achieved during negotiations with Mexican officials…

President Donald Trump said “not nearly enough” progress was made in talks with Mexico to mitigate the flow of undocumented migrants and illegal drugs, raising the likelihood that the U.S. will follow through with tariffs next week.

So tariffs will be slapped on Mexican goods starting on Monday, and President Trump seems quite excited about this

“If no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!”

Of course the Mexicans will almost certainly retaliate, and both countries will start seeing higher prices and significant job losses.

In fact, one study has concluded that the U.S. economy could lose more than 400,000 jobs as a result of these tariffs on Mexico.  The following comes from CNN

If the 5% US tariff on all goods from Mexico takes effect and is maintained, more than 400,000 jobs in the United States could be lost, an analysis released this week found.

The tariffs on Mexico, set to go in effect on Monday, would cost Texas alone more than 117,000 jobs, according to the analysis by The Perryman Group, an economic consulting firm. Texas is Mexico’s largest export market, making the two economies closely intertwined.

And the truth is that those numbers could actually be on the low side.

According to Marc Thiessen, a trade war with Mexico would literally put millions of U.S. jobs at risk…

Indeed, Mexican tariffs could be even more devastating for Americans than those imposed on China. Deutsche Bank estimates the tariffs could raise the average price of automobiles sold in the United States by $1,300. Indeed, U.S. and Mexican auto-supply chains are so deeply integrated that many parts cross the border multiple times before they end up in a finished vehicle — which means they would be hit by tariffs multiple times, compounding costs. Ten million U.S. workers’ jobs depend on this supply chain; tariffs would put those jobs at risk, including those of the “forgotten Americans” in the industrial Midwest whose jobs Trump vowed to protect.

We shall see what happens, but the outlook for the U.S. economy for the rest of this year is not good at all, and beyond that things look exceedingly grim.

Hopefully I am wrong, but it certainly appears that a major economic downturn is developing just in time for the 2020 presidential election.

There is one more thing that I would like to mention before I wrap up this article.  This week, a Russian news source reported that Russia and China “will sign an agreement” regarding the use of their own national currencies in bilateral trade with one another…

Russia and China will sign an agreement on possible payments in national currencies. A decree of the Russian government on signing of a relevant agreement with the Chinese side was released on the official portal of legal information on Wednesday.

According to the draft decree approved through that government document, “settlements and payments for goods, service and direct investments between economic entities of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China are made in accordance with the international practice and the legislation of the sides’ states with the use of foreign currency, the Russian currency (rubles) and the Chinese currency (yuan).”

In other words, they are dumping the dollar in favor of their own national currencies when trading with each other.  This is a direct threat to the international dominance of the U.S. dollar, and other countries have been discussing similar moves.

For decades, the U.S. dollar has essentially been a global currency.  More dollars are actually used outside of the United States than within this country, and most Americans don’t realize that.

This has given us some enormous advantages in the global marketplace, and it could be just a matter of time before those advantages begin to disappear.

Things that used to take months or years to happen are now happening in a matter of days.  The pace of change is really picking up, and right now the momentum of events is heading in a direction that is definitely not favorable to the United States.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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.

Even Before The Recession Has Officially Begun, Some Large U.S. Firms Are Laying Off Thousands Of Workers

If the U.S. economy is “booming” and very bright days are ahead, then why are many large U.S. corporations laying off thousands of workers?  Layoffs are starting to come fast and furious now, and this is happening even though the coming recession has not even officially started yet.  Of course many are convinced that we are actually in a recession at this moment.  In fact, according to John Williams of shadowstats.com if the government was actually using honest numbers they would show that we have been in a recession for quite some time.  But the narrative that the mainstream media keeps feeding us is that the U.S. economy is “doing well” and that the outlook for the future is positive.  Well, if that is true then why are big companies laying off so many workers right now?

Let’s start by talking about Ford Motor Company.  On Monday, they announced that they will be laying off approximately 7,000 workers

Ford Motor said Monday that it is laying off about 7,000 managers and other salaried employees, about 10% of its white-collar workforce across the globe, as part of a restructuring plan designed to save the No. 2 automaker $600 million annually.

The cuts, some of which were previously announced by the company, will be completed by August, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in an email to employees Monday.

If the U.S. economy was about to take off like a rocket, this move doesn’t make any sense at all.

But if we are headed into a recession, this move makes perfect sense.

Another large firm that is laying off thousands of workers is Nestle

Nestle SA’s U.S. unit will dismiss about 4,000 workers as it stops delivering frozen pizza and ice cream directly to stores and transitions to a warehouse model that’s becoming an industry standard for Big Food companies looking to trim costs.

And we also recently learned that 3M is planning to get rid of about 2,000 workers

3M plans to cut 2,000 globally as part of a restructuring due to a slower-than-expected 2019.

The maker of Post-it notes, industrial coatings and ceramics said Thursday that the move is expected to save about $225 million to $250 million a year. The St. Paul Minnesota-based company anticipates a pretax charge of about $150 million, or 20 cents per share, this year.

Did you catch that part about these layoffs being due to “a slower-than-expected 2019”?

Unfortunately, things are slow for a lot of companies out there these days.

Another company that is dumping a large number of workers is MGM Resorts

MGM Resorts International MGM, -2.09% plans to cut about 1,000 positions by the end of the current quarter amid a cost-cutting and operational overhaul that calls for fewer managers across its properties.

That figure includes some 254 positions that the company moved to eliminate last week.

In addition, Dressbarn just announced that all of their stores will be closing

Dressbarn is closing all of its stores.

The women’s retailer announced Monday “plans to commence a wind-down of its retail operations, including the eventual closure of its approximately 650 stores.”

I am not sure how many employees they have per store, but even if it is just a handful we are talking about the loss of thousands of jobs.

The U.S. economy has been slowing down for months, and now the complete breakdown of trade talks with China threatens to plunge us into a prolonged trade war.  As I noted in another article, a couple of different studies have concluded that an extended trade war could literally cost our economy millions of lost jobs.

And once the job losses start rolling, they can really get out of hand very quickly.  We saw this in 2008, and it is just a matter of time until we see it happen again.

On Sunday, a reader sent me an article about a factory closing that was happening in her neck of the woods in Pennsylvania.  One worker that was laid off said that the closure of the facility “was the final kick in the gut”

Robert and Brooks Gronlund, owners of Wood-Mode Inc., wrote a text to workers Friday, saying they “are extremely appreciative” of the employees’ contributions and commitments. The company owners then confirmed all of them were terminated, as were their benefits.

“It was the final kick in the gut,” Michele Sanders, a 22-year employee of the company, said Saturday.

The privately-owned company in Kreamer, which produced custom wood cabinets, shut its doors Monday, leaving nearly 1,000 people without jobs. The abrupt closure of the plant stunned workers and community leaders.

So now almost 1,000 people do not have a way to support themselves and their families.

We are talking about hard working people with real hopes and real dreams.

Kreamer is a very small town.  According to Wikipedia, only 773 people live within the city limits, and so obviously there are not a lot of employment opportunities in the town.

And if those workers are anything like the rest of the U.S. population, most of them were probably living paycheck to paycheck.

I keep encouraging my readers to build an emergency fund, because you never know when you will be next on the employment chopping block.  I personally know a number of people that have just lost their jobs, and it can be an absolutely devastating experience.

Unfortunately, it looks like what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.  All of the numbers tell us that economic activity is slowing down, and so we should all get ready to potentially face a rapidly deteriorating economic environment during the second half of 2019.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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.

Nearly 102 Million Americans Do Not Have A Job Right Now – Worse Than At Any Point During The Last Recession

Wouldn’t it be horrible if the number of Americans without a job was higher today than it was during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009?  Well, that is actually true.  As you will see below, nearly 102 million Americans do not have a job right now, and at no point during the last recession did that number ever surpass the 100 million mark.  Of course the U.S. population has grown a bit over the last decade, but as you will see below, the percentage of the population that is engaged in the labor force is only slightly above the depressingly low levels from the last recession.  Sadly, the truth is that the rosy employment statistics that you are getting from the mainstream media are manufactured using smoke and mirrors, and by the time you are done reading this article you will understand what is really going on.

Before we dig into the long-term trends, let’s talk about what we just learned.

According to CNBC, initial claims for unemployment benefits just rose by the most that we have seen in 19 months

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits jumped 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended April 20, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The increase was the largest since early September 2017.

And considering all of the other troubling economic signs that we have been witnessing lately, this makes perfect sense.

In addition, we need to remember that over the last decade lawmakers across the country have made it more difficult to apply for unemployment benefits and have reduced the amount of time that unemployed workers can receive them.  In reality, the unemployment situation in this nation is far worse than the mainstream media is telling us.

When a working age American does not have a job, the federal number crunchers put them into one of two different categories.  Either they are categorized as “unemployed” or they are categorized as “not in the labor force”.

But you have to add both of those categories together to get the total number of Americans that are not working.

Over the last decade, the number of Americans that are in the “unemployed” category has been steadily going down, but the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has been rapidly going up.

In both cases we are talking about Americans that do not have a job.  It is just a matter of how the federal government chooses to categorize those individuals.

At this moment, we are told that only 6.2 million Americans are officially “unemployed”, and that sounds really, really good.

But that is only half the story.

What the mainstream media rarely mentions is the fact that the number of Americans categorized as “not in the labor force” has absolutely exploded since the last recession.  Right now, that number is sitting at 95.577 million.

When you add 6.2 million “officially unemployed” Americans to 95.577 million Americans that are categorized as “not in the labor force”, you get a grand total of almost 102 million Americans that do not have a job right now.

If that sounds terrible to you, that is because it is terrible.

Yes, the U.S. population has been growing over the last decade, and that is part of the reason why the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has been growing.

But overall, the truth is that the level of unemployment in this country is not that much different than it was during the last recession.

John Williams of shadowstats.com tracks what the real employment figure would be if honest numbers were being used, and according to him the real rate of unemployment in the United States at the moment is 21.2 percent.

That is down from where it was a few years ago, but not by that much.

Another “honest” indicator that I like to look at is the civilian labor force participation rate.

In essence, it tells us what percentage of the working age population is actually engaged in the labor force.

Just before the last recession, the civilian labor force participation rate was sitting at about 66 percent, and that was pretty good.

But then the recession hit, and the civilian labor force participation rate fell below 63 percent, and it stayed between 62 percent and 63 percent for an extended period of time.

So where are we today?

At this moment, we are sitting at just 63.0 percent.

Does that look like a recovery to you?

Of course not.

If you would like to claim that we have had a very marginal “employment recovery” since the last recession, that is a legitimate argument to make.  But anything beyond that is simply not being honest.

And now the U.S. economy is rapidly slowing down again, and most Americans are completely and totally unprepared for what is ahead.

The good news is that employment levels have been fairly stable in recent years, but the bad news is that unemployment claims are starting to shoot up again.

A number of the experts that I am hearing from expect job losses to escalate in the months ahead.  Many of those that are currently living on the edge financially suddenly won’t be able to pay their mortgages or their bills.

Just like the last recession, we could potentially see millions of middle class Americans quickly lose everything once economic conditions start getting really bad.

The economy is not going to get any better than it is right now.  As you look forward to the second half of 2019, I would make plans for rough sailing ahead.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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. Job Cut Announcements Rise 117 Percent To The Highest Level That We Have Seen In More Than 3 Years

We have not seen anything like this since the last recession.  Layoff announcements are coming fast and furious now, and the speed at which workers are being laid off is shocking a lot of people.  In this day and age, big companies have absolutely no loyalty to their workers.  The moment it becomes financially advantageous for them to start laying off employees, most of them will do it in a heartbeat.  I personally know someone that was an extremely hard worker and that put in extra time and effort for his company for many, many years, but he was just laid off because that is what the number crunchers determined was the right move.  It is a cold, cruel world, and as we witnessed back in 2008, job losses can occur at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking when a recession strikes.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been documenting the numbers that indicate that a major economic slowdown has begun, and we may have gotten the biggest one so far on Thursday.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of job cut announcements in February was up 117 percent compared to the same period last year.  The following comes from Fox Business

While many experts and investors are eagerly awaiting data on status of the labor market Opens a New Window. to be released by the government on Friday, a new report shows U.S. employers cut more jobs Opens a New Window. last month than they have in the past 3.5 years.

Even though it is the shortest month of the year, U.S. employers announced plans to cut 76,835 jobs last month, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That’s a 117 percent year-over-year increase, and a 45 percent increase over January’s numbers.

You have to go all the way back to 2015 to find a month that was as bad as February.

Are you starting to see that the momentum for the economy has clearly shifted?

The economic news just keeps getting worse and worse as we roll through 2019, and the retail sector is being hit harder than just about anyone else.

In fact, retailers announced more job cuts in February than any other sector did

The retail sector had the most planned job cuts, with 41,201 so far this year – the highest January-February total since 2009. The industrial goods sector – including some manufacturers – followed with nearly 32,000 cuts announced during the same time period.

The primary reasons employers cited for eliminating positions were restructuring and bankruptcy.

This is being called a “retail apocalypse”, and we are on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year.

At this point, retailers have already announced the closure of more than 5,300 stores.  The following list of retailers that have announced that they are shutting down at least 10 locations comes from Business Insider

Payless ShoeSource: 2,500 stores
Gymboree: 805 stores
Family Dollar: 390 stores
Shopko: 251 stores
Chico’s: 250 stores
Gap: 230 stores
Performance Bicycle: 102 stores
Charlotte Russe: 520 stores
Sears: 70 stores
Destination Maternity: 42-67 stores
Victoria’s Secret: 53 stores
Kmart: 50 stores
Abercrombie & Fitch: 40 stores
Christopher & Banks: 30-40 stores
JCPenney: 27 stores
Beauty Brands: 25 stores
Henri Bendel: 23 stores
Lowe’s: 20 stores

And that list doesn’t even include the fact that Amazon is closing all 87 of its pop-up stores.

I have repeatedly warned that we will be facing a future of boarded up windows, empty retail stores and abandoned malls, and it is happening right in front of our eyes.

Of course it isn’t just the retail industry that is rapidly laying off workers.  Here are just a few of the highlights from the workforce reduction announcements that we have seen in recent days…

-Tesla continues to struggle, and they have already laid off 8 percent of their entire workforce.

-Microsoft is cutting approximately 200 jobs in their commercial sales business.

-JP Morgan is steadily shutting down bank branches in lower income neighborhoods.

-We Work has announced that they have let 300 employees go.

-Devon Energy is eliminating about 200 workers.

-Whole Foods is cutting back worker hours.

-Encana has announced that it is laying off 274 workers in the Houston area.

-In North Carolina, Duke Energy has eliminated 1,900 positions.

-Ocwen Financial is planning to lay off approximately 2,000 workers over the course of 2019.

And in my article yesterday, I noted that General Motors is shutting down four major production plants this year.

It’s really happening.

The bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that we have been enjoying is disappearing, and the road ahead is going to be really rough.

On Thursday we also learned that U.S. household wealth has been plummeting.  In fact, the fourth quarter of 2018 was the worst quarter for household balance sheets since the last financial crisis

Americans’ net worth fell at the highest level since the financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2018 as sliding stock market prices ate into the household balance sheet.

Net worth dropped to $104.3 trillion as the year came to an end, a decrease of $3.73 trillion from the third quarter, according to figures released Thursday by the Federal Reserve. The fall amounted to a drop of 3.4 percent.

An increasing number of families are feeling financially squeezed these days, and many of them are accumulating large amounts of debt as they attempt to keep things going.

But for a lot of Americans that are currently drowning in debt, the end of the road has already been reached.

In an article that I posted yesterday, I noted that an all-time record 7 million Americans are behind on their vehicle payments, 37 million credit card accounts are considered to be “seriously delinquent”, and 166 billion dollars worth of student loans are now in the “seriously delinquent” category.

This is a consumer debt crisis that already surpasses the numbers that we witnessed during the last recession.

Nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.  This is very much a developing story, and I will share new numbers with you as I get them in.

We haven’t experienced anything quite like this since 2008, and most Americans are completely unprepared for a new economic downturn.

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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