Continual Decline

Yesterday brought a lot of bad economic news.

First, the jobless claims climbed to 428,000. The previous week they had originally been put at 414,000 then bumped up to 417,000. I guess they think we won’t notice the dubious initial reporting even though they do it each week. Continuing claims were up, too; not a good sign for the September jobs report.

The New York Fed and the Philly Fed showed manufacturing contracting – again. Industrial production rose slightly – by .2% – hardly worth celebrating. There has been a large drop in the growth of corporate tax receipts which Wall Street economist Ed Yardeni says suggests a major profit slowdown.

Inflation is on the rise. The numbers were up .4%, not the expected .2%, and this is a major jump. You don’t need these numbers to tell you this. Just take a look at prices in the supermarket. Have you seen the cost of even cheap cuts of beef? Producer prices are rising much faster than the consumer can handle.

Today consumer confidence came in at 57.8, a little higher than last month. But if you look at the consumer expectation number (an indication of where people think things are headed), it dropped from 47.4 to 47. That is the lowest since May 1980.

On top of all this is the Europe question. Their ships of state are listing, to put it mildly. If something happens there, there will be a ripple effect here. Will the American public agree to pump money into their faltering economies? Doubtful.

Many of us remember the Carter years. It wasn’t pretty. This administration looks like they want to do him one better.

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