Skip to comments.27 Huge Red Flags For The U.S. Economy: For those who think economy is headed in the right direction
Posted on 05/24/2014 11:38:41 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
If you believe that the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction, you really need to read this article. As we look toward the second half of 2014, there are economic red flags all over the place. Industrial production is down. Home sales are way down. Retail stores are closing at the fastest pace since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. U.S. household debt is up substantially, and in 20 percent of all U.S. families everyone is unemployed. In so many ways, what we are witnessing right now is so similar to what we experienced during the build up to the last great financial crisis. We are making so many of the very same mistakes that we made the last time, and yet our "leaders" seem completely oblivious to what is happening. But the warning signs are very clear. All you have to do is open your eyes and look at them. The following are 27 huge red flags for the U.S. economy...
#1 Despite endless assurances from the Obama administration that we are in an "economic recovery", the number one concern for U.S. voters is "Unemployment/Jobs" according to a recent Gallup survey.
#2 Historically, sales for construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar have been a pretty good indicator of where the global economy is heading next. Unfortunately, sales were down 13 percent last month and have now experienced year over year declines for 17 months in a row.
#3 During the first quarter of 2014, profits at office supply giant Staples fell by 43.5 percent.
#4 Foot traffic at Wal-Mart stores fell by 1.4 percent during the first quarter of 2014. Analysts seem puzzled as to why Wal-Mart is "underperforming". Perhaps it is because the U.S. middle class is being steadily destroyed and U.S. consumers are tapped out at this point.
#5 It is being projected that Sears will soon close hundreds more stores and will eventually go out of business altogether...
The company said this week that it may sell its 51% stake in Sears Canada, which operates nearly 20% of the company's stores worldwide. It has quietly closed nearly 100 U.S. stores in the last year. Next week, it's expected to announce dismal fiscal first quarter results and possibly yet more store closings.
"They have too many stores and they're losing a lot of money, burning cash," said John Kernan, an analyst with Cowen.
Kernan expects the company to close 500 of its 1,980 U.S. stores in a few years and, ultimately, to go out of business.
"The lights are going off at Sears and Kmart," he said. "There are tumbleweeds blowing through the parking lots at Kmart. They're basically completely irrelevant."
The "retail apocalypse" just continues to roll on, but the mainstream media is treating this like it is not really a big deal.
#6 The labor force participation rate for Americans from the age of 25 to the age of 29 has fallen to an all-time record low.
#7 According to official government numbers, everyone is unemployed in 20 percent of all American families.
#8 As families struggle to pay their bills, many of them are increasingly turning to debt in order to make ends meet. Earlier this month we learned that total U.S. household debt has increased for three quarters in a row. And as I noted in one recent article, total consumer credit in the United States has increased by 22 percent over the past three years, and 56 percent of all Americans have "subprime credit" at this point.
#9 Interest rates on student loans are scheduled to increase substantially on July 1st...
As of July 1, federal student loan rates will edge up. Rates overall will be up 0.8% compared to current rates.
Federal Stafford Loans for undergraduate students will be 4.66% up from 3.86%. Federal Stafford Loans for graduate students will be 6.21% up from 5.41%.
Federal Grad PLUS and Federal Parent PLUS Loans will be at 7.21% up from 6.41%.
This is going to put even more pressure on the growing student loan debt bubble.
#10 U.S. industrial production fell by 0.6 percent in April. This should not be happening if the economy truly was "recovering".
#11 Manufacturing job openings in the United States have declined for four months in a row.
#12 Existing home sales have fallen for seven of the last eight months and seem to be repeating a pattern that we witnessed back in 2007 prior to the last financial crash.
#13 In the real estate bubble market of Phoenix, sales in April were down 12 percent year over year, and active inventory was up 49 percent year over year. In other words, there are tons of homes on the market, but sales are going down.
#14 The homeownership rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level in 19 years.
#15 Trading revenue at big banks all over the western world is way down...
Late Friday, it was JPMorgan who said trading revenues will be down 20 percent this quarter. Now Barclays says trading revenues in the first three months were down 41 percent. The company cited "challenging trading conditions resulting in subdued client activity." Like JPMorgan, Barclays also warned they were seeing no improvement in trading in the second quarter.
#16 Jan Loeys, JPMorgan's head of global asset allocation, is warning that the Federal Reserve is creating a huge financial bubble which could "push us into a credit crisis"...
Where do we go from here? To this analyst, still very subdued economic growth, both at the US and global level, implies continued easy monetary policy. The risk is that bond yields rise no faster than the forwards. Financial overheating (asset inflation) proceeds much faster than economic overheating (CPI inflation). Before CPI inflation has a chance to emerge, and before monetary policy is truly above neutral, a financial bubble will have popped up somewhere and will have corrected, pushing the economy down. That is what has happened in the past 25 years. The behavior of central banks gives us no confidence that this time will be different: Central banks talk about financial instability, but appear to define this mostly in term of bank leverage. Each successive boom and bust is always in another place. A bubble can emerge without leverage. It is not possible to project exactly where this boom and bust cycle will take place as knowing where it will be would induce evasive actions that should prevent it from occurring. One possible ending, among many, is that ultra-easy rates having induced credit markets to grow much faster than equity markets, combines with reduced market making by banks (many of whom have become like brokers) to create a liquidity crisis when the Fed starts the first set of rate hikes. This could then be bad enough to close primary markets, and thus push us into a credit crisis.
#17 Peter Boockvar, the chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, is warning that the U.S. stock market could experience a 20 percent decline once quantitative easing completely ends.
#18 A lot of other big names are telling CNBC that they expect a significant stock market "correction" very soon as well...
A bevy of high-profile names have warned lately that the market is on the doorstep of a major move lower. From long-term market bulls such as Piper Jaffray to short-term traders such as Dennis Gartman, expectations are high that the major averages are poised for a big dip, with calls varying from 10 percent or so all the way up to 25 percent.
#19 The number of Americans enrolled in the Social Security disability program exceeds the entire population of the nation of Greece and has just hit another brand new record high.
#20 Poverty continues to grow all over the country, and right now there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity.
#21 According to Pew Charitable Trusts, tax revenue in 26 U.S. states is still lower than it was back in 2008 even though tax rates have gone up in many areas since then.
#22 Barack Obama is doing his best to keep his promise to destroy the U.S. coal industry...
The EPA is about to impose a new regulation that will reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants starting June 2 and will become permanent in 2015. The new regulation, according to Politico, is the most dramatic anti-pollution regulation in a generation. Because the new regulation will further cripple the coal industry, as coal-burning plants will be severely affected, American power will become more dependent on natural gas, solar and wind.
#23 Climatologists are now saying that the state of Texas is going through the worst period of drought that it has experienced in 500 years.
#24 It is being reported that "dozens of Texas communities" are less than 90 days away from being completely out of water.
#25 It is being projected that the drought in California will cost the agricultural industry 1.7 billion dollars and that approximately 14,500 agricultural workers will lose their jobs.
#26 Due in part to the drought, the price of meat rose at the fastest pace in more than 10 years last month.
#27 According to recent surveys, only about a quarter of all Americans believe that the country is heading in the right direction.
“undocumented workers” losing their jobs. good.
Agriculture is 2% of CA GDP
Our economy took a fast boat to China with unbalanced trade deals. Restore MADE IN USA or kiss our economy goodbye.
I’m surprised you came in first with that.
I was expecting a poster — CNN to come up with that.
American imports of Chinese-made goods in 2013: 440 billion dollars.
Chinese imports of American-made goods in 2013: 122 billion dollars.
America needs to bring back American jobs.
It’s not just me.
America is buying tons of stuff from overseas.
American corporations have completely sold out. Bring back jobs to the USA.
This will become more important to an ever-growing portion of America, until we gain enough votes to do something in response to this massive unbalance.
Rebalance now, or have things rebalanced later.
Didn’t Obama already explain all this? Isn’t it the result of telephone switchboard operators losing jobs to automated switching equipment?
#3, Staples decline, could just be due to less paper and stationery purchased due to e-documents, emails, and “cloud” e-filing.
Everything else on list is worrisome!
There is a reason more Americans are poor and more Chinese are driving Lamborghinis.
There’s also a reason countries like China, India, Europe, and Saudi Arabia spend hundreds of millions on lobbyists in the US Congress.
“Restore MADE IN USA or kiss our economy goodbye.”
People are fond of saying this as if we could flip a switch or change a law or trade agreement and it would happen. The government at many levels is the reason these jobs have left. The city, county, state or federal EPA inspector can spot a suspicious puddle on your manufacturing floor and order your plant closed. Just complying with the thousands of pages of their regulations costs millions of dollars. Then there’s OSHA and a host of other regulatory agencies whose real purpose is to shut your plant down. (Not on paper, but this is where the anti-corporate zealots work.) On top of that there are countless labor regulations any one of which could cost you multi-million dollar fines. And, of course the federal government will pay all the legal fees so people of color (is it okay to say that?) can sue you because they feel discriminated against. So, why did companies flee here by the million? Not because of cheap labor. For most, that was the smallest reason. But it’s always the one focused on by the media. They fled because the business environment has gone total-California.
To bring back business you’d literally have to fire all the regulatory agencies.
I’ve written about this before. An 18 year of girl from one of the EPA’s (not sure which one) came to inspect. She asked questions indicating she’d probably never been in a plant before. She seemed totally paranoid that we (a small quantity generator) were trying to pull a fast one. It seems she had it in her head that all of us evil corporations were contaminating the water and breeding Godzilla’s and she’d be the one held responsible for not catching and stopping us. I’ve never seen management sweat so hard.
Now, the company had its own legal teams and they’d be really hard to shut for very long. But the fear I witnessed spoke volumes about the tiny companies who don’t have lawyers on tap and buckets of money to spend.
I've visited many local area communities and see the same everywhere, many long time businesses, local and national, are gone or going out of business. Even when you see a new business come in, it's not enough to replace those that have closed. The new ones also put more pressure on the similar existing businesses as the economy still sucks.
I just don't understand these liberals and the liberals in the media. When they can look around and see these things happening before their eyes. They'd rather blame Bush for all the problems but they, themselves, have been in power since they took over congress in around 2006. Which means they have had plenty of time to fix things but they have made it worse.
You liberals and the liberal media that reads here, YOU are responsible for making things worse in this country, NOW, humble yourselves, get the hell out of the way and let the conservatives fix it by going back to the limited government the Constitution allows.
Awesome outfit, super fast delivery
Just rebuilt the motor in my treadmill.
Thanks for the link.
I read somewhere the other day that Soros is getting rid of all of his bank stock.
I’m afraid that instead of being rob of your Reeboks by some thug when you walk out of the mall, we’re going to be robbed of our hamburger meat when we walk out of Kroger’s.
“I’ve visited many local area communities and see the same everywhere, many long time businesses, local and national, are gone or going out of business. “
A friend who speaks little English wanted his septic tank pumped. I got the yellow pages and called the first five companies. All, out of business. You’d think that if business was bad you’d just keep the company open and take a part time job. But you can’t. You have to have bonds and insurance and benefits and forty hour weeks and you have to pay taxes and license fees. If you’re not making x-thousand dollars a month you can’t keep your company. You have to fold.
To get somebody to drive out to my home to look at the air-conditioning, which isn’t cooling as well as it should, costs $250...just to come out. Then if I use their service that $250 comes off the cost. But I know from an employee who works for a contractor that they’ve been instructed to sell stuff we don’t need. So, instead of Freon I’ll be told that I need a new unit for $5,000 or so. Why? Because the companies have such a high government mandated fixed cost. If they don’t cheat they won’t stay in business.
“You liberals ... YOU are responsible for making things worse in this country.. .”
My wife asked me why I no longer speak to the libs in my neighborhood. What I told her I would say to them pretty much matches what your wrote above.
I HATE THE OSHA JERKS!!! I had to deal with them. (Wasn’t my personal company at the time but one that I worked for.)
There operating procedure is that you MUST be doing something wrong and you MUST be fined for it and lying about it. They sent greenhorn idiot inspectors who knw absolutely nothing about the product or the methods of manufacturing the parts that came out of out factory. They didn’t find anything. They got a two day tour, took notes asked questions, said nothing was wrong, then went about for their review meeting behind closed doors.
Weeks later a book, it must have been 200 pages, of violations and fines showed up. Stuff they never even looked at that were proven to be incorrect. It went so far as to say the polarity in some wall sockets were wrong and needed to be fixed. WHAT!!! Polarity wrong on the wall sockets when NO ONE tested a wall socket. There were some perfunctory stupid ones like missing striped tape on safety bollards just to make it seem like they paid attention.
I can only imagine how bad the EPA is.
It’s getting to where you have to do everything yourself. Fortunately, on the Internet there are now instructions — and parts — for practically everything repairable.
“I can only imagine how bad the EPA is.”
My experience with OSHA is that they’ll give you a warning and you’ll have time to fix it. But I’m certain this has a lot to do with who does the inspection, what their agenda is and whether they think your company has the money to make them look bad. (My company at the time was in the Fortune 500. Although the managers acted like frightened little girls, the attorneys are sharks.)
The EPA can order you to shut your doors right this minute. They never did that to us as we were armed for bear with every spec sheet for every chemical. By the time I dealt with them we’d converted most of the processes to water based products.
But one day there was a pressure surge in the water lines and the fire suppression sprinkler system leaked a couple of coin-sized rusty water drops. The company pulled the panic cord. Guys wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) cordoned off the area. They used approved procedures and packaged the cleaning material for hazardous pickup. I stood and watched, amazed. They did the same when an older woman had an unexpected period with a few drops of leakage. She was so embarrassed that she found another job and quit. (If she’d called me I’d have gone out with a paper towel and rubbed them out and never said a word. But they’d all had blood borne pathogens training.)
We were all trained in CPR, but then told we couldn’t touch anybody’s lips with our lips or we’d be fired. Fired for saving somebody’s life...
An employee fainted from a known problem. Two of his buddies took him home. They were both written up as the standard procedure is to call 911. (He’s have quit too.)
“American corporations have completely sold out.”
IMO, it’s a two-way street. American consumers have sold out.
American consumers want cheap stuff. China’s providing cheap stuff that American consumers are buying. There go American jobs.
We can thank the American consumer as much as anyone.
Great link! Thanks.
Wondering how much more of this Obama-style “economic recovery” we can handle?
Craigslist. Qualified people are begging for work on there. I use it for almost everything.
I am in the process of having granite put in our kitchen for less than half what the local store wants.
We had our trees trimmed and a huge one taken out for less than half-——cash.
Our air conditioner broke and a guy came right out and fixed it. Less than half.
“Craigslist. Qualified people are begging for work on there.”
Here’s the problem. The government does not want you paying cash. They have passed laws making you responsible if somebody you’ve hired is injured or killed. If that happens you are well and truly scr*wed.
Companies are required to have insurance. The cost of that insurance (and unemployment comp and license fees (taxes)...etc.) are included in the cost of the job they’re doing for you. That’s why it’s so expensive.
There are a lot....repeat a lot....of contractors who are licensed and bonded advertising on Craigslist.
You post like your cited regulations problems can’t be fixed. Congress can change all that. Elections matter. Both parties have exported the country’s economy across the ocean. Wall Street overpowers Main Street. Money talks, politicians listen [it’s called free speech]. Bush - Obama, as Mrs Clinton says what’s difference does it make. The country needs another Perot who rightly heard the economy sucking sound a long time ago. He gets my vote.
It’s restore MADE IN USA or we continue to sink with war costs, depleted contributions to SS, and borrowing from China. Green jobs and tax cuts are just election boob bait for the bubbas.
“You post like your cited regulations problems cant be fixed. “
Thomas Lippmann, in “Public Opinion, said, essentially, “A reformer goes to Congress intent on changing x. He is quickly buried by the special interests intent on protecting x and never heard from again.” The problems are so many and so varied I simply don’t see a way to end them. The EPA, for example, essentially writes its own extra-legal laws. They, along with a half dozen organizations we know and probably thirty more we don’t each write a law that is one more straw (or bail) on the camel’s back. It would take a massive change to reverse this, far more than we see with a mere change in party control. As you point out, they’re both in on this.
An alcoholic will remain one until he wakes up drowning in his own vomit and decides he’s going to change. But, essentially, we’ll have to hit rock bottom before you’ll see any will to change. And, it’s not enough to take away, modify or change a few regulations. We have to get rid of the mechanism...all the alphabet agencies. They have been captured by special interest agendas and will not stop what they’re doing even of they lose some ground.
If it comes to that, probably it will be too late. Gated communities will have no barrier. Veterans in the streets, will be met by military force. Money and the wealthy will leave for other lands. In the words of Yeats 'Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer; / Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;'
No one but the wealthy will have enough 'speech' to compete. Hopefully, in the absence of political eunuchs, a corporate leader will arise and challenge superfluous regulations in the courts. Although the present court leans toward 'money rules', it may be the only hope.
I really hope you are wrong.
the best way I can see to support our local economies is to buy locally grown food AMAP...honey, milk, bread,eggs, meat etc even if you have to buy diretly from the farmer....
we can also support local resturants.....and local stage theatre productions....we can support our HS and local college sport teams....they are all AMerican.....
as for products, until we get realistic American companies producing again, we are stuck with buying and bartering at the local level....you can buy almost anything and save lots of money on craigslist...
the liberals know that govt workers everywhere are still with jobs, making good money, having the best in health care, and have fat obscene defined pensions that can never be touched....as long as they continue to grow their govt cronies, it doesn’t matter if the rest of us eat dog chow....
#7 is the scariest one. The welfare society can’t survive for long when life becomes a hammock for whole generations of families
Cut taxes and regulations
$4.00 gas and diesel.
$10 grocery store T-bone.
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