July 20, 2012
Is the U.S. economy in a recession right now? Has the next recession in the United States already begun? Unfortunately, there are a lot of economic numbers that are pointing in that direction. U.S. retail sales have fallen for three months in a row, U.S. manufacturing activity is contracting and there are numerous indications that the labor market is getting weaker. Of course there are some economists that will argue that we never even left the last recession. For example, the percentage of working age Americans with jobs fell from above 63 percent in 2007 to under 59 percent during the last recession. Since the end of the last recession, that number has not gotten back above 59 percent. In fact, it has been below 59 percent for 34 months in a row. In addition, we have continued to see poverty and government dependence steadily rise during this “economic recovery”. Since Barack Obama became president, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by 6 million and the number of Americans on food stamps has risen by 14 million. So it would be really hard to argue with anyone that wants to say that the last recession never really ended. However, the latest economic numbers indicate that things are about to get even worse for the U.S. economy, and that is not good news at all.
The following are 12 signs that the next recession in the United States has already begun….
#1 U.S. retail sales have declined for three months in a row, and that is a very bad sign. Retail sales in America have fallen three months in a row only 27 times since 1947. In 25 of those instances, the U.S. economy was either “in a recession or within three months of a recession.”
#2 Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region has declined for three months in a row.
#3 Overall, the U.S. manufacturing sector contracted last month for the first time in almost three years. The following is from a recent article in the Los Angeles Times….
A factory index calculated by the Institute for Supply Management slid to 49.7 in June from 53.5 in May to the lowest reading since July 2009. Any level below 50 denotes tightening in the sector; anything above signifies growth.
#4 Sales of previously occupied homes dropped by 5.4 percent during June.
#5 Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 386,000 last week – another sign that the labor market is weakening again.