We Haven’t Seen A Manufacturing Slowdown Like This Since The Last Financial Crisis

This isn’t what was supposed to happen.  According to the economic optimists, there was going to be a great “manufacturing renaissance” as America entered a wonderful new golden age of boundless prosperity.  But of course that is not what has happened.  Manufacturing activity has been declining for the past three months, and all across the country we are seeing economic conditions rapidly deteriorate.  Over and over, we are seeing economic numbers that are worse than anything we have seen since the last recession, but the economic optimists keep assuring us that these are just temporary blips on the way to America’s glorious economic renewal.  Well, they can keep believing in a mirage of future prosperity if they want, but the hard numbers keep telling us another story.  For example, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index has now fallen to a level that was “last sustained during the financial crisis”

Manufacturing activity across the country has contracted for three months, according to closely watched ISM data. In the Midwest, the slowdown has been more severe. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index shows backlogs dropping to a level touched briefly four years ago but last sustained during the financial crisis.

In the middle of the country, it already feels like a manufacturing recession for many business owners.  Manufacturing facilities are being closed down, machines are being idled and thousands of workers are being let go.  The following comes from a CNBC article about our current manufacturing slowdown

At Ameri-Source Metals’ machine shop outside Pittsburgh, stacks of graphite stubs have begun to pile up in a quiet corner.

Founder Ajay Goel said the customer who typically buys the stubs – a multinational chemicals company – now only needs one-fourth of the amount he used to produce. As a result, the machines have been idled and the workers who serviced them, laid off.

That sure doesn’t sound like a “booming economy” to me.

So far this year, thousands upon thousands of manufacturing workers have been laid off in the Upper Midwest.  By now, we were supposed to be adding large numbers of these good paying jobs, but instead we are losing them at a frightening pace.

In fact, it is being reported that more than 8,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in the key state of Pennsylvania alone…

From January to September, the states bordering the Great Lakes have lost more than 25,000 manufacturing jobs: Pennsylvania lost 8,100; Ohio lost 6,000; Michigan lost 6,500; and Wisconsin lost 4,700.

Of course it isn’t just the manufacturing industry where employment is cooling off.  At this point, the number of job openings in the U.S. has fallen to an 18 month low, and it is expected to fall ever further in the months ahead.

Things have already gotten so bad that the mainstream media is running articles about how ordinary Americans can prepare for the coming recession.  For instance, the following comes from a CNN article entitled “What can you do now to financially prepare for a layoff later?”

Sometimes, there are warning signs that you are in danger of being laid off — a buyout of your company, a merger or a strategic change in direction. Other times, the cuts come without warning. But while being laid off is not in your control, being financially prepared for such an event is.

“Companies evolve, change and fail and employees, and even business owners, need to be prepared for the unexpected,” said Mike Silane, a chartered financial analyst with 21 West Wealth Management.

And remember, all of this is happening even though the federal government is running trillion dollar deficits and the Federal Reserve is using up all the ammunition that they should be saving for the depths of the next recession.

In essence, the authorities are already implementing emergency measures in a desperate attempt to support the faltering U.S. economy, but it isn’t working.

This week, we learned that orders for Class-8 trucks in the month of October were down 51 percent from a year ago.

Can anyone explain to me how that is consistent with the “booming economy” narrative that the economic optimists are endlessly pushing?

Unfortunately, the truth is that we can see signs of a major slowdown all around us.  U.S. business hiring has fallen to a 7 year low, the Cass Freight Index has declined for 10 months in a row, and manufacturing is now the smallest share of the United States economy that it has been in 72 years.

But despite all of the evidence that is staring them right in the face, the economic optimists continue to insist that everything is probably going to be okay.  In fact, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon is telling us that “the chance of a U.S. recession between now and the election is small”

“I’ve said that I still think the chance of a U.S. recession between now and the election is small — in the distributions of outcomes, it’s a smaller outcome — I said roughly 25%,” Solomon told Bloomberg Television in Berlin on Tuesday. “Nine months ago I probably would have told you it was very small, kind of 15%,” he said. “So I do think the uncertainty has increased a little bit some of the risk,” but economic data and earnings momentum have held up well and American consumers are “still very healthy,” he said.

Of course the truth is that American consumers are actually not “very healthy” at this moment.  Consumer confidence has fallen for 3 months in a row, and 44 percent of all Americans currently do not make enough money to cover their monthly expenses.

That is one of the reasons why consumers are piling up staggering amounts of debt, and that consumer debt bubble is starting to burst.

Unfortunately, the economic optimists will continue to push their false narrative up until the very end, and lots of people will believe them.

You can believe them too if you want, but it won’t change what is about to happen.

The crisis that so many have been anticipating is starting to play out, and our problems are likely to greatly accelerate in the months ahead.

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 need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section 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.

More Bad Economic Numbers Put A Huge Dent In The Case Of The Economic Optimists

For a long time, people have been trying to tell me that the U.S. economy is headed for a new golden era.  They insist that the U.S. will be more powerful and more respected than ever before, and that we will see unprecedented prosperity in this nation.  But despite extremely wild spending by the U.S. government and exceedingly irresponsible intervention by the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy has not even had a “good” year in ages.  As I have pointed out numerous times, we have not had a year when U.S. GDP grew by at least 3 percent since the middle of the Bush administration, and that makes this the longest stretch of low growth in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin.  Many believe that brighter days may still be ahead, but all of the economic numbers that we have been getting in recent months make it abundantly clear that a new economic slowdown has begun.  I shared 14 of those numbers earlier this week, and I will share some brand new ones with you today.

Let’s start by taking a look at how U.S. consumers are faring.  U.S. consumer confidence has now fallen for 3 months in a row, and this week we learned that the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index has just fallen at the fastest pace in more than 8 years

U.S. consumer comfort suffered its biggest weekly decline in more than eight years on a pullback in Americans’ assessments of the economy, personal finances and the buying climate, possibly signaling more moderate household spending approaching the holiday-shopping season.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell 2.4 points, the most since March 2011, to 61 in the week ended Oct. 27.

How in the world can anyone possibly claim that we have a “booming economy” after reading that?

We also just got another depressingly bad manufacturing number.  Experts were expecting a reading of 48.3 for the Chicago Purchasing Management Index, but instead it came in at just 43.2

The Chicago Purchasing Management Index sank to 43.2 in October from 47.1 in the prior month. This is the lowest level since December 2015. Economists has expected a reading of 48.3, according to Econoday.

Any reading below 50 indicates deteriorating conditions.

We were promised a “manufacturing renaissance”, but instead manufacturing is now the smallest share of the U.S. economy that it has been in 72 years.

That is terrible.

Manufacturing traditionally provides good paying jobs, and as I pointed out the other day, U.S. business hiring has now declined to the lowest level in 7 years.

But at least we have plenty of government jobs, eh?

In the private sector, things are getting really tough, and we are starting to see lots of big companies lay off workers.

For example, Molson Coors just announced that they will be laying off up to 500 workers as they desperately search for a way to survive in this difficult economic environment…

To further drive efficiency and enable growth, Molson Coors is consolidating and reorganizing office locations. The Denver office will be closed and Chicago will be designated as the North American operational headquarters. Functional support roles currently housed in several offices around the country will now be based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

As a result, we expect to reduce employment levels by approximately 400 to 500 employees as part of this restructuring, primarily in our existing United States, Canada and International reporting segments, as well as Corporate.

You know that things are getting tough when even beer companies start laying people off.

Of course the “retail apocalypse” continues to escalate, and we just learned that Forever 21 will be closing most of their stores and laying off most of their employees

More than 100 Forever 21 stores are slated to close as part of the fashion retailer’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection case, according to court documents filed this week.

The family-owned company, which has about 32,800 employees, said it would close “most” of its stores in Asia and Europe and up to 178 stores in the U.S. when it filed for protection Sept. 29.

A similar scenario is playing out for Dressbarn.  According to USA Today, all of their 544 stores “will close no later than Dec. 26″…

Liquidation sales at the remaining Dressbarn stores will start Friday, the struggling retailer announced Wednesday.

While the 544 stores will close no later than Dec. 26, the women’s clothing website is expected to relaunch in 2020 with a new owner, the company said in a news release.

It has been hoped that a limited trade agreement with China might bolster the economy at least temporarily, but now we are learning that Chinese officials expect “phase one” of the deal to “soon fall apart”.  According to CNN, the Chinese are pessimistic that our two countries will ever be able to “reach a full trade deal”…

Chinese officials have expressed doubts about whether the world’s two largest economies can reach a full trade deal, Bloomberg reported. That is casting a long shadow over the “phase one” agreement that the countries reached earlier in October.

This is consistent with my warnings from previous articles.  The Chinese wanted the Trump administration to stop the implementation of any more tariffs, and they were able to achieve that with “phase one”.  But in order to move forward with “phase two”, the Chinese are going to insist on the removal of all tariffs

According to BBG’s sources, this is the bare minimum that Beijing would accept to move ahead with Phase 1: a commitment from the Americans to removing tariffs in Phase 2, and agreeing to cancel the next round of tariffs, set to take effect in December.

This is something that the Trump administration will never agree to, and so that puts us back where we originally started.

The Chinese will continue to “negotiate”, but only for stalling purposes.

There is only about a year left until the 2020 elections, and the Chinese are hoping to run out the clock on the Trump administration with as little disruption to their own economy as possible.

Unfortunately for the Chinese, Trump could possibly win another term, and if either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders win they could potentially be even tougher on trade with China.

In any event, we should not expect a comprehensive trade deal with China any time soon, and that is really bad news for the economic optimists.

Of course the truth is that everything that I have just shared is bad news for all of us.  The U.S. economy is seriously deteriorating, and things are only going to get worse in the months ahead.

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.

The Boom Turns Into A Bust – Here are 14 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Steadily Weakening

There should no longer be any doubt that the U.S. economy is slowing down, but most Americans still don’t realize what is happening because the major news networks are completely focused on the endless impeachment drama that is currently playing out in Washington.  And without a doubt that is important, because it threatens to literally rip our entire nation in two.  But meanwhile, economic activity has taken a very ominous turn.  Hiring is slowing, consumer confidence is plunging, defaults on auto loans are rapidly escalating, the “transportation recession” continues to get deeper and it appears that the housing bubble is popping.  Everywhere we turn, there are signs of economic trouble, and many are deeply concerned about what this will mean for us as we head into a pivotal election year in 2020.

Not since the last recession have we seen numbers this bad.  The “mini-boom” that we witnessed for several years has now turned into a “bust”, and very tough times are ahead.

The following are 14 signs that the U.S. economy is steadily weakening…

#1 U.S. business hiring has fallen to a 7 year low.

#2 Consumer confidence in the United States has now declined for 3 months in a row.

#3 Defaults on “subprime” auto loans are happening at the fastest pace that we have seen since 2008.

#4 The percentage of “subprime” auto loans that are at least 60 days delinquent is now higher than it was at any point during the last recession.

#5 Vacancies at U.S. shopping malls have hit the highest level since the last recession.

#6 Destination Maternity has announced that they will be closing 183 stores as the worst year for store closings in U.S. history just continues to get worse.

#7 The Cass Freight Index has now fallen for 10 months in a row.

#8 U.S. rail carload volumes have plunged to the lowest level in 3 years.

#9 In September, orders for class 8 heavy duty trucks were down 71 percent.

#10 Tesla’s U.S. sales were down a whopping 39 percent during the third quarter of 2019.

#11 The bad news just keeps rolling in for the real estate industry.  Last month, existing home sales in the United States declined by another 2.2 percent.

#12 New home prices have fallen to the lowest level in almost 3 years.

#13 According to one recent report, 44 percent of all Americans don’t make enough money to cover their monthly expenses.

#14 A recent survey found that more than two-thirds of all U.S. households “are preparing for a possible recession”.

All over the country, economic activity is slowing down, and this is hitting many small businesses particularly hard.

In Wisconsin, one aluminum firm “has seen bookings plunge by 40 percent” and was forced to lay off workers as a result…

Sachin Shivaram, the chief executive of Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, started to worry this summer when orders for his brake housings and conveyor belt motors first grew scarce. Within weeks, what began as mild concern snowballed into a business drought that has seen bookings plunge by 40 percent.

In August, Shivaram, 38, reluctantly laid off two dozen workers, hoping to recall them when the outlook improved. It hasn’t.

“Things are not good. We didn’t anticipate this level of deterioration,” he said. “Orders are down across the board.”

Of course there are hundreds of other examples just like this one.

As times get tougher, many U.S. consumers are increasingly turning to debt to help make ends meet.

For those at the low end of the economic food chain, getting approved for credit cards and other conventional forms of debt can be quite difficult.  This has opened up a door for online financial predators, and they are making a killing by making loans to people that really can’t afford them.

In fact, it is being reported that online lending has become a $50 billion industry, and sometimes these “loans” carry annual interest rates of more than 100 percent

It’s called the online installment loan, a form of debt with much longer maturities but often the same sort of crippling, triple-digit interest rates. If the payday loan’s target audience is the nation’s poor, then the installment loan is geared to all those working-class Americans who have seen their wages stagnate and unpaid bills pile up in the years since the Great Recession.

In just a span of five years, online installment loans have gone from being a relatively niche offering to a red-hot industry. Non-prime borrowers now collectively owe about $50 billion on installment products, according to credit reporting firm TransUnion. In the process, they’re helping transform the way that a large swathe of the country accesses debt. And they have done so without attracting the kind of public and regulatory backlash that hounded the payday loan.

Just like the “payday loan” industry flourished during the last recession, now predatory lending is flourishing during this present era.

Unfortunately, as “the everything bubble” bursts, times are going to be very tough for all of us during the years ahead.

I think that Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies summed things up very well when he made the following statement during a recent interview…

‘When this thing implodes, we are all screwed. On a global scale, we have never before created such a magnificent bubble. These central bankers are clueless, and they have proven that beyond a doubt. All they can do is to try to keep the bubble going.’

We should give the central bankers credit for keeping the bubble going for as long as it has.  It should have never lasted this long, but thanks to unprecedented intervention they have been able to keep it alive.

But no financial bubble lasts forever, and now things have started to shift in a major way.

2020 is rapidly approaching, and the time of “the perfect storm” is now upon us.

I encourage you to do what you need to do to weather the coming economic storm, because it is not going to be pleasant.

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.

They Are Telling Us That The Next Recession “Won’t Be As Bad As 2008”. They Are Wrong.

Are we really supposed to believe them?  As the next recession rapidly approaches, the mainstream media is assuring us that there isn’t really that much to be concerned about.  In fact, as you will see below, CNN is assuring us that “the next one won’t be as bad as 2008”.  But how do they know?  After all, we didn’t have a president that was in danger of being impeached in 2008.  As this impeachment process moves forward, the mood of this nation is going to become increasingly sour.  Over in Europe, they are dealing with endless Brexit drama, and over in China the Hong Kong protests have created instability unlike anything we have seen in the modern history of that country.  Meanwhile, the Middle East has become an endless source of “wars and rumors of wars”.  At some point missiles will start flying back and forth and a major war will erupt over there, and that will immediately throw the entire global economy into chaos.  On top of everything else, our planet is shaking like a leaf, global weather patterns are becoming increasingly unstable and crops are failing all over the world.  The truth is that the environment that the global economy operates within is far more unstable today than it was back in 2008, and it wouldn’t take much at all to push us into a complete and utter economic nightmare.

But if you listen to the mainstream media, you would be tempted to assume that everything is going to be just fine.

In fact, CNN just published an article entitled “Not all recessions are a crisis, and the next one won’t be as bad as 2008”

Recession fears are on the rise in the United States. Memories of the last downturn are exacerbating these worries: The last time America faced a recession was in 2008, as the financial crisis was unfolding. Millions of people lost their jobs, GDP growth plummeted and businesses shut down.

But not all recessions are like that. Sometimes the economy can grow all the way through a recession. In fact, some economists believe the world is in a recession now and most people don’t even realize it.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could go all the way through the next recession without even realizing it?

I would love that.

Perhaps they should invent a way for us to eat Brussels sprouts without realizing it as well.

According to CNN, it is likely that we are headed for a “growth recession” rather than a recession in which we would have “millions of lost jobs like the last recession”…

For the United States, a global growth recession will probably mean sluggish growth, rather than millions of lost jobs like the last recession 10 years ago did. A growth recession would be nothing like 2008, when America entered a so-called technical recession: at least two consecutive quarters of a shrinking economy. The US economy is far away from that.

They can be optimistic if they want, but the thing about sticking your head in the sand is that your rear end is still exposed.

Look, I am not opposed to wishful thinking, but at some point you have to deal with reality.  Personally, I would like to be able to dunk a basketball like Michael Jordan does, but it just isn’t going to happen.

And our reality is telling us that we are far more vulnerable economically today than we were back in 2008.  Even though we have never had a full year of 3 percent economic growth since the last recession, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is nearly twice as high as it was at the peak of the bubble that burst during the last financial crisis.

In other words, stock prices are absurdly overinflated, and at some point there is going to be a dramatic implosion.

Much of the growth in stock prices has been driven by companies that are supposedly worth billions of dollars but that don’t actually make any profits.

WeWork is an example of the type of company that I am talking about.  It is constantly hemorrhaging money, but back in January it was supposedly worth 47 billion dollars.

Of course that number was always completely and utterly ridiculous, and after all the trouble that the company has had in recent months the valuation of the company has changed dramatically.

In fact, at this point it is being reported that WeWork is only worth about 8 billion dollars

As WeWork runs out of money, SoftBank Group is orchestrating the company’s “rescue financing plan” that could value it below $8 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: $8 billion is a slim fraction of the $47 billion valuation WeWork gleaned in January from SoftBank. The rescue plan also comes after the office-sharing business slammed the brakes on its IPO, causing company bonds to tumble.

So how does a company lose 39 billion dollars in value in less than a year?

Well, it was never actually worth 47 billion dollars in the first place, and the truth is that WeWork is eventually going to zero.

But similar things could be said about company after company.  Wall Street has become a theater for the absurd, and eventually this whole freak show is going to implode in spectacular fashion.

And so what happens if a historic stock market crash is one of the triggers that plunges us into an extended economic depression like we experienced in the 1930s?

Our society is not equipped to handle something like that.  We are soft, lazy, self-obsessed and completely dependent on the system.  If we had to suddenly become a lot more self-sufficient, most of us would fall flat on our faces.

Earlier today, I came across a Time Magazine article which explained that 71 percent of all 17-to-24-year-olds in the United States do not even meet the most basic qualifications for military service…

Approximately 71% of the 34 million 17-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. would not qualify for military service because of reasons related to health, physical appearance and educational background, according to the Pentagon.

The ineligible typically includes those who are obese, those who lack a high school diploma or a GED, convicted felons, those taking prescription drugs for ADHD and those with certain tattoos and ear gauges, the Wall Street Journal reports, though some requirements can be waived.

Only 1% of young people are both “eligible and inclined to have conversation with” the military about possible service, according to the Defense Department.

This is just one example of how badly our society has declined.

There are thousands more, and I write about them all the time.

So we better hope that things don’t get really, really bad in this country, because it would be a colossal mess unlike anything the world has ever seen before.

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 in written form on their own websites, but only if this “About the Author” section is included.  In order to comply with 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.  You can follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter.  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 this website.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instead, it will be much, much worse.

About the Author: 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 in written form on their own websites as long as this “About the Author” section is included.  In order to comply with 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.  You can follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter.  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 this website.

 

The Shocking Truth About Trump’s “Trade Deal” With China

We have a trade deal with China!  Well, except that nothing has actually been written down, nothing has actually been signed, the potential deal won’t really require any major concessions from China, but it did allow the Chinese to achieve a couple of key goals that they really wanted.  But other than that, the good news is that the Trump administration now has a “trade deal with China” to tout as a “major accomplishment” to voters.  And without a doubt, in the short-term this will calm the financial markets and ease some of the pressures on the global economy.  Certainly it appears that there should be no further escalations in our trade war with China over the next few months, and that is definitely a bit of good news worth celebrating.  Following the announcement of this potential deal, stock prices started surging, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up more than 300 points.  We haven’t seen this much optimism on Wall Street in some time, and things certainly seem brighter for investors in the short-term.

But let there be no doubt – this is not even remotely in the neighborhood of being the sort of “comprehensive trade deal” that the Trump administration originally wanted.

Instead, it is a very, very limited potential deal that is still being worked on

President Donald Trump announced a trade deal, in principle, on Friday afternoon with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He the U.S. says will be rolled out in two or three parts.

The agreement postpones a tariff increase scheduled for Oct. 15 and could halt additional penalties scheduled to go into effect just before Christmas.

‘We’ve come to a deal, pretty much. Subject to getting it written,’ said Trump in the Oval Office of what he described as phase one.

Oh, it isn’t actually “written” yet.

Apparently, phase one of this “trade deal” will be written over the next three weeks.

But most Americans don’t pay attention to the details, and all they will hear is that we have a “trade deal with China”, and that will certainly help Donald Trump politically.

So when phase one is eventually put down on paper, what will it actually do?

Well, the truth is that it won’t actually do very much

The initial deal, which Mr. Trump said had been reached “in principle” would involve China buying $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products, along with agreeing to guidelines on how it manages its currency. The agreement also includes some provisions on intellectual property, including forced technology transfer and would give American financial services firms more access to China’s market, the president said.

In exchange, the United States will not go ahead with plans to raise tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent next week.

We’ll see what the “provisions on intellectual property” ultimately look like, and I have to say that I am skeptical, but if China agreed to some substantial changes in this area that could potentially be a positive thing for U.S. companies.

But other than that, this “deal” seems very tilted toward the Chinese.

For China, one of the main goals in these negotiations was to get the Trump administration to roll back the tariffs that were about to be implemented and to get the Trump administration to agree not to impose any additional tariffs.  These tariffs are very damaging for the Chinese economy and are the primary instrument of leverage that the Trump administration possesses in this trade war.

So for China to be able to essentially get a freeze on tariffs was a big win for them.

Without the threat of more tariffs, the Chinese can continue to run out the clock on the Trump administration and wait for a Democrat to be elected in 2020.  The Chinese will continue to do a lot of “talking” and “negotiating”, but they won’t agree to any sort of a comprehensive trade agreement until they can get someone that they consider to be more “reasonable” in the White House.

Oh, but we really stuck it to them by forcing them to purchase “$40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products”, didn’t we?

Well, no, we didn’t.

Let me tell you a secret.

The Chinese actually want to buy our agricultural products.  In fact, since millions upon millions of their pigs have been dying from African Swine Fever, the truth is that they desperately need U.S. pork products.

So this is essentially a case of throwing the Chinese into “the briar patch”.  The Chinese knew that our farmers desperately need to sell our agricultural products to them, and so they quit buying them temporarily in order to get leverage on the Trump administration.  But this is something that the Chinese were always going to compromise on, because they have a great need for what our farmers are producing.

In the short-term, this is a big win for the Chinese, it is a win for U.S. farmers, and it is a win for the Trump administration because they now have their “trade deal with China” and the stock market is soaring once again

Stocks ended higher Friday after President Donald Trump said China and the U.S. reached the first phase of a substantial trade deal that delays tariff hikes that were set to kick in next week.

The Dow closed 319 points higher, while the S&P 500 rose 1.1% and the Nasdaq gained 1.3%. The gains helped the Dow and S&P 500 snap a three-week losing streak. The Dow and S&P 500 gained 0.9% and 0.6%, respectively, for the week. The Nasdaq ended the week up 0.9%.

But it appears that this trade deal doesn’t really do much of anything to address our long-term problems with China, and we are being told that “expectations for a major breakthrough” are “still low”

Beijing’s vice premier is in Washington leading the 13th round of negotiations with Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Expectations for a major breakthrough in the 15-month standoff are still low.

The two sides are deadlocked primarily over the Trump administration’s assertions that China steals technology and pressures foreign companies to hand over trade secrets as part of a sharp-elbowed drive to become the global leader in robotics, self-driving cars and other advanced technology.

In the end, this very limited “deal” gives the Chinese what they want in the short-term and it allows them to continue to delay any sort of resolution on the most important trade issues.

The Chinese got just what they wanted, but here in the United States it will be spun as a big win for Trump by the White House.

And Trump certainly needs some good news right now, and so it is hard to blame him for grabbing this deal.

But let’s not lose sight of what is really going on here.  The coming tariffs have been put on hold, and meanwhile no “agreement” has even been drafted yet.  I think that the current state of affairs was summarized very well by Sven Henrich

We have no agreement.
We have nothing in writing.
We have agreed to discuss a process on how to consult during which we will discuss what to agree upon.

Now get ready for phase 2 and meeting #14.

Trade wars are easy, didn’t I tell you?

And nothing that happened this week has changed the long-term outlook (#ad) even one bit.

The global economy is still slowing down, and our financial system is still the most vulnerable that it has been since the crisis of 2008.

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 in written form on their own websites as long as this “About the Author” section is included.  In order to comply with 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.  You can follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter.  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 this website.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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