This is bad. Not just bad, but heart-achingly, mind-numbingly, makes-you-want-to-throw-up bad. This is worse than how you would feel after a six-week bender in Tijuana consuming nothing but tequila, rotten banana peels, and nitroglycerin pills laced with cocaine.
The Philly Fed manufacturing index, a measure of production in the central eastern United States, has cratered. The index was up +3.2 last month, but the new figures are down -30.7! This is the lowest level since March of 2009, which was not a good time. About 18% of firms showed an increase in employment but 23% showed a decrease, and 28% of firms showed a shorter workweek vs. only 14% showing a longer one. Long story short: Fewer people were employed and those that were employed had to work fewer hours.
This wasn’t exactly unexpected. The Empire State Fed index was released earlier and showed a decrease from -3.76 to -7.72. Still, the difference in the Philly Fed is a staggering drop of 33.9. That’s the equivalent of several states simply ceasing to exist within just a few weeks.
You can’t have an economy unless you have businesses that actually do things, such as manufacture products or perform services. This tiny tidbit of data seems to have evaded the current occupant of the White House. Despite Obama’s laughable declaration that we aren’t in danger of a double-dip recession, reality is once again proving to be remarkably adept at showing what a jackass he is. Not only is a double-dip recession possible, it’s already here.