The evidence is piling up.
The Empire Index yesterday was terrible — still showing contraction.
This comes behind three solid months of bad data from Philly and Richmond; Richmond’s data includes services data, which was negative last month as well.
And services are ~70% of our economy.
I noted material deterioration in tourism-related traffic all across the eastern half of the United States in June and July — personally, as I was traveling.
I have multiple freight-related reports (trucking, mostly) showing bad comps. And rail traffic doesn’t look very good either, compared to last year.
The Presidential election doesn’t help. I’m not going to “blame” the candidates for this, for one simple reason — it’s their job to campaign, and calling attention to the distinctions between their intentions and results (in the case of Obama) is how you do that. But it’s inescapable that neither of these candidates are pointing to a way forward that includes the rule of law as a primary item on the agenda — and yet a level playing field, where one can redress their grievances in court and get a fair shake, is a big part of what makes it worthwhile to take risk by starting businesses — and hiring employees.
Governor Johnson isn’t talking about that either; he’s focused on drugs and gay marriage, not financial frauds and special favors. Romney is focused on special favors for banksters; the Biden scream of the season is (like it or not) accurate. But Obama is no better; this morning Obama’s administration modified Fannie and Freddie’s “bailout” further cementing a bailout that was explicitly disavowed when their bonds were issued.
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