Department Of Commerce

Did US Consumers Finally Tap Out? BofA Internal Card Data Shows Significant July Spending Slowdown

According to Bank of America's internal aggregated credit and debit card data, consumer spending slowed in July, with retail sales ex-autos down 0.3% mom on a seasonally adjusted basis. As the bank concludes, "In our view, this sets up for a softer Census Bureau retail sales report on  Friday – we would not be surprised to see either disappointing July sales and/or a downward revision to June."

US Admits It "Found A Problem" In Calculation Of GDP

For years we have complained against both the BLS' and the BEA's comical seasonal adjustments, which "serve" just one purpose: to goalseek the data to a desired, politically-mandated outcome, and which culminated last May when the Department of Commerce announced it would seasonally adjust last year's woeful Q1 GDP data not once but twice in order to get a better result.  Now, it appears that there indeed was a problem.

Factory Orders Scream Recession... And This Is How A Big Miss Was Avoided

Even without digging too deep into the factory orders number, it was dreadful: while "rising" 1.9% monthly, or in line with expectations, the series posted its 18th consecutive annual decline. A stretch of declines this long has never happened before in US history without the economy being in concurrent recession.

The Stunning Idiocy Of Steel Tariffs

It took these several centuries of learned debate to finally get rid of most of Charlemagne’s extensive and absurd price controls. So essentially, today’s bureaucrats are assuming the role  once played by kings, popes and their representatives in determining “just” prices. It sounds almost as though more than a thousand years of progress have just gone “poof”. Obviously though, the governments involved in this trade spat are only acting in the best interests of steel workers. Just as they are only acting in the best interests of taxi drivers when regulating Uber out of existence in a city. Why, we should actually consider bringing back VHS video while we’re at it. Someone must have made those tape machines and tapes, and obviously they’re all out of a job as well. How are we ever going to have jobs if we don’t stop progress?

US Government "Finds" Americans Had $70 Billion More In Disposable Income

Just one week after the US Department of Commerce quietly slashed historical US capex spending by billions of dollars following a major data revision it was time for another major revision to a series that is nearer and dearer to most Americans' hearts, namely Disposable Personal Income. Here, the US Dept of Commerce just "revised" personal wages high enough to add over $70 billion in disposable income to US pockets over the past 6 months.

Unintended Consequences: Easy Money = Overcapacity = Trade Wars

So what happens to all that Chinese steel that was on its way to the US and EU before slamming into those prohibitively high tariffs? One of three things: Either it’s sold elsewhere, probably at even steeper discounts, thus pricing US and EU steel exports out of those markets. Or it’s stockpiled in China for future use, thus lowering future demand for new steel production and, other things being equal, depressing tomorrow’s prices. Or many of China’s newly-built steel mills will close, and China will eat the losses related to this malinvestment. Each scenario results in lower prices and financial losses somewhere. Put another way, as far as steel is concerned, the world’s fiat currencies are rising in value, which is the common definition of deflation.

The Manufacturing Recession That Won't Go Away: Factory Orders Rebound From 5 Year Lows, Decline For 17 Months

In 60 years, the US economy has never suffered a 17-month continuous YoY drop in Factory orders without being in recession. Which begs the question: are we in one now. Moments ago the Department of Commerce confirmed that in March, US factory orders - despite rising 1.1% sequentially and above the 0.6% expected -  declined for 17th consecutive month on an annual basis, dropping 4.2% from a year ago.

19 Facts That Prove Things In America Are Worse Than They Were Six Months Ago

While we all very capable of discerning the 'recovery' facts from the peddled recovery fiction throughout President Obama's reign, a close up over the last six months suggests things are getting worse in a hurry. As The Economic Collapse blog's Michael Snyder details, while most people seem to think that since the stock market has rebounded significantly in recent weeks that everything must be okay, that is not true at all.

Manufacturing Recession Deepens: Factory Orders Drop To Five Year Low; 16 Consecutive Declines

In 60 years, the US economy has not suffered a 16-month continuous YoY drop in Factory orders without being in recession. Moments ago the Department of Commerce confirmed that this is precisely what the US economy did, when factory orders not only dropped for the 16th consecutive month Y/Y, after declining 1.7% from last month  but at $454 billion for the headline number, this was the lowest print since the summer of 2011.

The Trade Wars Begin: China Retaliates To Steel Tariffs With Global Anti-Dumping Duties

In the aftermath of dramatic tarfiffs imposed on China's steel exports in December, we asked how long until it responds with it own protectionist response: a necessary and sufficient condition for fully symmetric trade wars. It did so earlier today when, accused of flooding world markets with cheap steel, it imposed its own anti-dumping duties as high as 46.3% on electric steel products imported from Japan, South Korea and the European Union, the Ministry of Commerce said on Friday.