Economics & Research Blog
Latest Recovery Indicators Take a Step Back as Economy Continues Lackluster Growth
The NASDAQ Composite index was down significantly since last month as stocks tumbled with fears of a European recession and debt crisis and an economic slowdown in China.
By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: June 5, 2012
The NASDAQ Composite index was down significantly since last month as stocks tumbled with fears of a European recession and debt crisis and an economic slowdown in China. The NASDAQ is above its value at the beginning of the recession by +3.7%, but below it by -5.32% once adjusted for inflation. (click on table to enlarge)
The new orders portion of the ISM non-manufacturing index rose from 53.5 to 55.5. The imports index for non-manufacturing fell by -6.2%, and indicates slower growth. The overall ISM manufacturing index retreated slightly since last month, but the manufacturing new orders index was strong, up +3.3% compared to last month, and imports was flat.
Proprietors income rose in Q1-2012, but the Bureau of Economic Statistics revised its initial figure down from $1132.6 billion to $1130.8 billion. It remains -5.2% below the inflation-adjusted level at the start of the recession. Small business continues to lag the overall economy.
The economy continues to move sideways in a very substandard recovery. Remember, the recession was officially over in June 2009, and growth has been very weak for the last year and a half. GDP growth for the first quarter was revised down from +2.2% to +1.9%. There are signs that the economy is slowing again. Last week's negative unemployment report was blown out of proportion by the media; it was not a disaster except from an election perspective. There were many positive elements in the report, such as an increase in the labor force and a +442,000 increase in employment as shown in the household survey which includes freelancers and self-employed workers; this will be covered in next week's column.
Though another recession is unlikely, slow growth rates always indicate higher recessionary risk.