Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Would You Believe We Are In Recession?

Are We Really In Recession?

You are not going to believe this, but today I heard that the data suggests that despite the fact GDP had only one quarter of contraction, it appears that we are in recession. Technically we would need two consecutive quarters, but many market analysts, those seers of reaction and not proaction, with a smattering of arm chair quarterbacking after the facts have seemingly been established thrown in, think we are already there.

It's a gutsy call being we have not had those two consecutive quarters I speak of, but if we look at some of the anecdotal if not actual evidence, I think that I am going to have to agree with these guys.

Let's Go To The Videotape (ala Warner Wolf)
  • My personal readings of restaurant occupancy on Friday and Saturday nights showing more and more people staying home.
  • Mall parking on a Saturday is uncharacteristically available.
  • Anecdotal evidence that wedding and other cash gifts are being reduced (I am uniquely qualified for this analysis as I got married the Saturday after the '87 stock market crash).
  • The misery index as measured by friends and acquaintances is growing.

I am going to throw in some more traditional economic readings as well for confirmation:

  • Loss of 1.2 million jobs this year to date.
  • Predictions of 220,000+ jobs loss per month going forward.
  • The New York Fed on Monday reported the general business conditions index at -25.43 in November, the lowest reading since the inception of the index in 2001.
  • Predictions of the unemployment rate topping 7.0% early next year.
  • Philly Fed predicting 4th quarter GDP would decline 2.9%.
  • Institute for Supply Management (ISM) fell to 38.9 in October from about 50 at the beginning of the year.
  • At a yearly low in both Real Disposable Income and Real Personal Consumption.
  • Oil continuing to drop despite OPEC production threats do to the slowing economy.
  • Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP continues to decline to a second quarter level of 10.7%.
No doubt, I have to agree with these guys. At least this time unfortunately.

1 comment :

  1. Reaction is important but when it is from those geniuses who have shown little evidence of prediction capability, a degree of doubt must enter the discussion. We are, no doubt, in a recession. The question of import is: How deep will it be and how long will it last?