Posts Tagged ‘artificial recovery’

THE ARTIFICIAL RECOVERY?

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artificial sunraysTHE ARTIFICIAL RECOVERY?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Friday’s GDP report confirmed a trend that has been persistent across the entire economy: there are few signs of sustainable economic growth.  There’s no question that the economy has improved substantially since the 3rd quarter of 2008, but the quality of the recovery has grown increasingly questionable.  The GDP figure was largely driven by government spending as opposed to improvement in the economy’s primary driver – the U.S. consumer.  In addition to the GDP figure we continue to see conflicting signs in the real economy.   In particular, revenues continue to lag and the consumer data continues to be weak.  In order for a long-term recovery to develop these trends will need to change.

The most recent GDP results were boosted 3% from government spending.  Most of this did not come from the stimulus package, however:

most of that increase came from the defense sector, not the nondefense sectors targeted by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Defense spending grew at a 13.3% annual rate, in part a rebound from a 4.3 first quarter contraction. Nondefense spending grew at a 6% annual rate, contributing 0.15 percentage points to overall growth. The economy can use all of the help it can get, but it’s too soon to declare that federal spending is effectively making its way into the system.

Clusterstock had an excellent chart showing the impact of the recent government spending on the GDP:

GDP vs. GDP minus gov't spending

Government spending is by no means a bad sign, but an organic and sustainable recovery cannot develop without strength in other components of the economy.  Unfortunately, there are few signs of strength outside of government spending.  The real source of long-term economic growth, the U.S. consumer, continues to show signs of extreme weakness:

pce

On the employment front the U.S. economy is expected to have lost another 300,000 jobs in July – a staggering statistic this deep into a recession.

employment

Many of the same weak underlying fundamentals are apparent in the Chinese stimulus plan as well.  Many people have attributed the sharp global economic rebound to China’s stimulus, but the risks in the plan have become increasingly high.  Royal Bank of Scotland economist Ben Simpfendorfer said:

“The risk is that the government, in chasing


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