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What you are about to see is major confirmation that a new economic downturn has already begun. Last Friday, the government released the worst jobs report in six years, and that has a lot of people really freaked out. But when you really start digging into those numbers, you quickly find that things are even worse than most analysts are suggesting. In particular, the number of temporary jobs in the United States has started to decline significantly after peaking last December. Why this is so important is because the number of temporary jobs started to decline precipitously right before the last two recessions as well.
You see, when economic conditions start to change, temporary workers are often affected before anyone else is. Temporary workers are easier to hire than other types of workers, and they are also easier to fire.
Something has just happened that has signaled a recession every single time that it has occurred since World War I. 16 times since 1919 there have been at least 8 month-over-month declines in industrial production during the preceding 12 month period, and in each of those 16 instances the U.S. economy has plunged into recession. Now that it has happened again, will the U.S. economy beat the odds and avoid a major economic downturn? I certainly wouldn’t count on it. As I have written about repeatedly, there are a whole host of other numbers that are screaming that a new recession is here, and global financial markets are crumbling. It would take a miracle of epic proportions to pull us out of this tailspin, and yet there are many people out there that are absolutely convinced that it will happen.
Earlier today, Goldman’s global macro strategist team led by Noah Weisberger released a report titled “Markets do not “Take it Easy” to start the year”, which had one very disturbing slide, i.e., “Exhibit 8.” – disturbing, because it showed that according to Goldman’s Current Activity Indicator, the US was effectively in recession; certainly disturbing enough for us to immediately tweet it with just one comment: “Oops”:
Oops from GS pic.twitter.com/jz0LCculCQ
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 20, 2016
In case it is not readily visible, here it is again:
Exhibit 8: Our market-based US growth risk factor is at post GFC lows
This was the accompanying Goldman commentary:
This is the “Greatest Depression”.
– Chart Of The Day: Is The US Already In A Recession? (ZeroHedge, April 2, 2015):
A month ago, when looking at the latest Factory Orders numbers, we noticed something very disturbing: the annual rate of increase, or rather decrease, in factory orders dropped to -2.3%. The last two time this happened was in 2008, just after the failure of Lehman, and in 2001, just as the US was again entering a recession. In fact, if there is one reliable, false-negative proof indicator of key recessionary inflection points in the US economy, it is the annual change in Factory Orders.
– Welcome To The Recession? (ZeroHedge, Feb 25, 2015):
It’s different this time…
– Russia Warns It May Enter Recession As Soon As This Quarter (ZeroHedge, April 21, 2014):
While hardly coming as a surprise to anyone, Russia is getting increasingly more vocal about the near certainty that the country is about to slam headfirst into a technical (at first), and then outright recession.
- RUSSIA MAY ENTER `TECHNICAL RECESSION’ IN 2Q, ORESHKIN SAYS
- RUSSIAN 2014 CAPITAL OUTFLOWS MAY REACH $70B-$80B: ORESHKIN
- RUSSIAN 2014 CURRENT-ACCOUNT SURPLUS MAY EXCEED $50B: ORESHKIN
- RUSSIAN GDP MAY CONTRACT IN 2Q OR 3Q VS YR EARLIER: ORESHKIN
Bloomberg reports that Russia’s economy may halt or contract in 2Q or 3Q, citing Maxim Oreshkin, head of Finance Ministry’s strategic forecasting dept.
“It seems that we’ll get negative growth again in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter.” Oreshkin says
– What If There’s A Recession in 2014? (Gonzalo Lira, Dec 16, 2013):
If policymakers were gunfighters, they’d be out of bullets: They have run out of effective policy tools to improve the economy.
So the question is simple: If there is a recession in 2014, and policymakers are out of bullets, how will it play out across the American economy?
Recently, Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid very astutely pointed out that the current “expansion” of the U.S. economy is on its fifth year—the seventh longest in history.
We are due for a recession.
– UK heads for triple dip as GDP contracts 0.3pc (Telegraph, Jan 25, 2013):
The UK economy shrank by 0.3pc in the final three months of last year, raising the prospect of a triple dip recession, as Britain’s manufacturers suffered their worst year since the financial crisis.
The official figures were the fourth quarter of negative growth in the last five and mean that the UK flatlined for last year as a whole – posting zero growth.
The economy is smaller than it was in September 2011 and still 3.3pc below its pre-crisis peak.
Making matters worse, there was scant evidence in the data that the economy is rebalancing from consumption to manufacturing. Output by Britain’s factories fell by 1.5pc in the quarter and by 1.8pc for the year as a whole – the first annual decline since 2009.
Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight, described the situation as “dire” and added: “We believe the economy is essentially flat at the moment. We suspect that GDP will not return to the level seen in the first quarter of 2008 until the first half of 2015 – a gap of seven years.”
– IMF Cuts Global Growth, Sees 2013 European Recession (ZeroHedge, Jan 23, 2013)
– Up To 3.5% Of US 2013 GDP Could Evaporate Due To Enacted Tax Hikes (ZeroHedge, Jan 11, 2013):
When it comes to the impact of the just enacted 2013 tax hikes (payroll tax cut expiration affecting everyone together with the tax hike on those making over $400K), economists are in broad agreement on one thing: the first half of 2013 will be impacted by roughly a 1.0%-1.5% drop in GDP. However, a big question emerges when attempting to quantify the adverse impact on US growth as the year progresses past June 30. Most strategists and economists ignore this issue, and instead chose to believe that all shall be well as by July, the US population will be habituated to getting a smaller paycheck and general consuming behavior will no longer be impacted relative to a previous baseline.
– Chart Of The Day: Continued Collapse In Capital Goods New Orders Confirms US Is In Recession (ZeroHedge, Nov 27, 2012)
– 21 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is About To Go To A Whole New Level (Economic Collapse, Oct 14, 2012):
The global debt crisis has reached a dangerous new phase. Unfortunately, most Americans are not taking notice of it yet because most of the action is taking place overseas, and because U.S. financial markets are riding high. But just because the global economic crisis is unfolding at the pace of a “slow-motion train wreck” right now does not mean that it isn’t incredibly dangerous. As I have written about previously, the economic collapse is not going to be a single event. Yes, there will be days when the Dow drops by more than 500 points. Yes, there will be days when the reporters on CNBC appear to be hyperventilating. But mostly there will be days of quiet despair as the global economic system slides even further toward oblivion. And right now things are clearly getting worse. Things in Greece are much worse than they were six months ago. Things in Spain are much worse than they were six months ago. The same thing could be said for Italy, France, Japan, Argentina and a whole bunch of other nations. The entire global economy is slowing down, and we are entering a time period that is going to be incredibly painful for everyone. At the moment, the U.S. is still experiencing a “sugar high” from unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, but when that “sugar high” wears off the hangover will be excruciating. Reckless borrowing, spending and money printing has bought us a brief period of “economic stability”, but our foolish financial decisions will also make our eventual collapse far worse than it might have been. So don’t think for a second that the U.S. will somehow escape the coming global economic crisis. The truth is that before this is all over we will be seen as one of the primary causes of the crisis.
The following are 21 signs that the global economic crisis is about to go to a whole new level….
YouTube Added: 03.09.2012
– French Central Bank Admits the Obvious: France Back in Recession (Global Economic Analysis, Aug 8, 2012):
For those who who view matters on a practical basis, France has been in recession the entire year. For those who need to see two quarters of negative growth first, France slides back in recession.
France is headed back into recession for the second time in just over three years, the country’s central bank warned on Wednesday.
This is the ‘Greatest Depression’!
– As Europe Goes (Deep In Recession), So Does Half The World’s Trade (ZeroHedge, Jan. 30, 2012):
Following the Fed’s somewhat downbeat perspective on growth, confidence in investors’ minds that the US can decouple has been temporarily jilted back to reality. It is of course no surprise and as the World Bank points out half of the world’s approximately $15 trillion trade in goods and services involves Europe. So the next time some talking head uses the word decoupling (ignoring 8.5 sigma Dallas Fed prints for the statistical folly that they are), perhaps pointing them to the facts of explicit (US-Europe) and implicit (Europe-Asia-US) trade flow impact of a deepening European recession/depression will reign in their exuberance.
From The World Bank: Golden Growth
An increasingly vigorous flow of goods, services, and finance over the last five decades has fueled European growth. Europe’s economies are the most open in the world. Before the global crisis of 2008–09, half of the world’s approximately $15 trillion trade in goods and services involved Europe (figure 2). Two-thirds of it was among the 45 countries discussed in this report. Financial flows have been equally vigorous. In 2007, for example, annual FDI in Europe exceeded $1 trillion. Big and growing trade and financial links facilitated by the single market form the core of the European convergence machine.
And I am amused that so view people call it a DEPRESSION.
(Not only) Real unemployment numbers are at depression levels.
This is the Greatest Depression.
– US In Recession Right Here, Right Now (Global Economic Analysis, August 29, 2011):
I am amused by those who think a US recession will come within a year. Even more amusing are those who think a recession will not come at all.
The US is in a recession now. I am not the only one who thinks so.
Last Friday, I received an email from Rick Davis at Consumer Metrics, complete with an Excel spreadsheet that shows that had the GDP deflator been based on the consumer price index (CPI) rather than the BEA’s measure of price inflation, the US would already be in the second quarter of contraction.
My friend Tim Wallace noted Davis’ explanation would be consistent with Petroleum Distillates Demand Shows “Definite Economic Downturn Starting April/May 2011”.
Thus Wallace was not surprised at all.
In the meantime, I received a set of emails from Doug Short. He had already charted what I was about to graph. Let’s take a look.
The Deflator Makes Big a Difference
Please consider Will the “Real” GDP Please Stand Up? by Doug Short.
How do you get from Nominal GDP to Real GDP? You subtract inflation. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) uses its own GDP deflator for this purpose, which is somewhat different from the BEA’s deflator for Personal Consumption Expenditures and quite a bit different from the better-known Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation gauge, the Consumer Price Index.
I’ve updated my charts showing quarterly Real GDP since 1960 with the official and three variant adjustment techniques. The first chart is the official series as calculated by the BEA with the GDP deflator. The second starts with nominal GDP and adjusts using the PCE Deflator, which is also a product of the BEA. The third adjusts nominal GDP with the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U, or as I prefer, just CPI). The forth chart, a recent addition prompted by several requests, adjusts nominal GDP using the Alternate CPI published by economist John Williams at shadowstats.com
The following charts are courtesy of from Doug Short.
- Stone McCarthy: “You Don’t Get Three Months Of Negative Empire Survey Results Unless You Are In A Recession” (ZeroHedge, Aug 15, 2011):
Forgive us while we take another quick and gratuitous look at today’s disastrous Empire Index, but we wanted to bring a very important point highlighted by Stone McCarthy: “You usually don’t get three straight months of negative results unless you are in a recession (Note: NY Fed historical data only started in July 2001).” SMRA continues: “If that’s not bad enough for you, the forward-looking new orders index fell to -7.8 in August, after posting -5.5 in July and -3.6 in June. Not only is the latest reading a new low in the recent string of negative results, it’s also the third straight month of contraction.” In other words when the NBER finally sits down to look at the disaster that the US economy has been over the past several years, the start of the next re-recession will likely be given as June 2011, oddly enough in a year when every sell side bank predicted that the economy would grow by at least 3.5% by Q4. As for what to expect next, look for the Philly Fed to be the next major leading indicator disappointment, which based on the NY Fed result, will miss Wall Street expectations of a +2.0% increase yet once gain, and which SMRA believes will drop from 3.2 in July to -3.4 in August.
– Recessionspotting: “You Are Here” (ZeroHedge, Aug 13, 2011):
Now that even the likes of Joe LaSagna are starting to throw out the R-word about as casually as they did a 4% 2011 GDP target as recently as 2 months ago, it is becoming increasingly clear that the market is pricing in the fact that post a few more historical BEA revisions, the prior two real GDP reads will end up having been, shockingly enough, negative, i.e., your garden variety recession. So where does that put us on a market performance continuum, for those wishing to extrapolate how much further stocks and, yes, bonds (because credit is and always has been a far better indicator of objective market reality) have to drop before we hit the proverbial floor. Well, according to Morgan Stanley, quite a bit lower: “Despite the recent decline in risk assets, we do not believe that recession is in the price. Exhibits 3 and 4 show the typical declines in developed market risk assets in recession. Compared to corrections in past recessions, S&P prices and corporate credit spreads would have more to go, though spreads are starting from a higher level than typically precedes recessions.” What is startling is that should central planners lose all control (and with central bank intervention upon intervention, one can argue that should all artificial props be removed, the market really ought to plunge in a Great Depression-style tailspin), the drop from the April 29 peak to the bottom will be roughly 4 times greater… which means the S&P would hit the proverbial “S&P 400” which is the long-term target of the likes of some more popular skeptics such as Albert Edwards and Russell Napier. As for credit: watch out below.
And completing the pain, again from Morgan Stanley: