Just Two 'Recession' Indicators

Tyler Durden's picture


Monday's income and spending (and implicitly 'saving') data provided plenty of fodder at the headline level for any and every opinion. We explained in great detail just how weak the data really was (here and here). But the following two charts suggest that any optimism of organic consumption-led exuberance is completely misplaced. Retail sales of clothing is growing at the slowest pace since 2010; but while major store sales are about to drop negative YoY for the first time in over 3 years, the utter collapse in general merchandise sales is worse that at the peak of the last recession at -5%. It seems tough to see how a nation with an economy built on 70% consumption is not in a recessionary environment. And while this alone is a dismal signal for the discretionary upside of the US economy/consumer; as Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg points out real personal income net of transfer receipts plunged at a stunning 5.8% annual rate in Q1. The other seven times we have seen such a collapse, the economy was either in recession of just coming out of one. But apart from that, everything is fine...


Retail Sales collapsing...


and absent the might of the US deficit, real personal income is also collapsing...


Charts: Bloomberg and Gluskin Sheff

Your rating: None

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Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:16 | 3518325 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

Bonds concur.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:31 | 3518394 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

I have my own recession real time indicator. BFMW 2/50

2 Cases of Beer in the fridge and 50 bucks in my wallet. Can't go beyond any other fundamentals because they just aren't real.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:18 | 3518624 BraveSirRobin
BraveSirRobin's picture

Let's see, the Ben Bernank has hand - a left hand and a right hand. Why does he not het a second computer and hold down the "ZERO" key on that one as well. He can double the money creation rate and save us all.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:14 | 3518329 I Am Not a Copp...
I Am Not a Copper Top's picture

Depression Bitchez!

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:41 | 3518437 somecallmetimmah
somecallmetimmah's picture

Try not to think of it as a"depression".

It's more like a no-money-back guarantee for an unsolicited diet plan!

Feel better?

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:17 | 3518330 uno
uno's picture

"the economy was either in recession of just coming out of one"

luckily we are in a depression, so no chance of that

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:22 | 3518369 midtowng
midtowng's picture

That explains why the job market is so tight right now.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:29 | 3518389 camaro68ss
camaro68ss's picture

But but but, Obama saved and or created 2 million jobs.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:32 | 3518414 Political_Savage
Political_Savage's picture

Seriously - there must be SOME sort of positive news out there!?!

I love ZH and how it debunks the sell-side euphoria.

But I'm beginning to wonder if the one-sided argument isn't masking some data. Are we potentially blinding ourselves of anything?

I just gotta ask... there's got to be something that keeps the masses happy right now and out of revolt, besides good old ignorance.

What am I missing!?!? Why am I the only one in panic mode when I'm at a party and I see everyone laughing and having a good time, like they don't see what is coming.

Am I paranoid or something? Seriously!

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:37 | 3518428 camaro68ss
camaro68ss's picture

Hey, your the crazy doomer at the block party too huh? I thought i was the only one. This is what QE does. Everything is fine until its not.

Enjoy life, your going to miss these days soon enough....

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:52 | 3518490 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

Seriously you must live a life of DUALITY .

The best news you can do will only come from you. YOu forget that parties usually have alcohol to ease the pain. Have a few and move on.

The only thing you can do is not play into these assholes fear mongering. Get comfortably numb and get a good dog.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:57 | 3518516 camaro68ss
camaro68ss's picture

I get comfortably numb daily now and its only getting me fat. hahaha.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:37 | 3518430 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I stopped getting invited to parties.


Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:46 | 3518452 Political_Savage
Political_Savage's picture

I seriously can't talk about the markets when I'm out anymore. A small conversation turns into a rant where I can't stop listing the other shoes to drop.

What really freaks me out is when I talk to other people in the industry and they look at my with glazed eyes, like they don't get it. One of the guys manages a huge pension fund's high-yield portfolio! I couldn't get him past "spreads."

A key expample was when Cyprus hit the tape initially. I was out for drinks that Sat night with friends and I mentioned it... nobody knew about it or cared.

I described the transfer mechanism from Cyprus, to Europe, to Russia, then the macro impact on basic bank accounts... crickets!

I just ordered a double and shut the fuck up.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:49 | 3518468 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

just change the conversation to world events....





do you have kids? My kid is smarter than your kid always eats up half the night by me.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:54 | 3518499 Political_Savage
Political_Savage's picture

First kid is on the way - 8 short weeks away.

Hope to drown myself in that and avoid the rest of it all.

New focus in life - protect daugher. Prepare all yee who feel the need to challenge... I won't stop and know no bounds

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:58 | 3518541 schnydz
schnydz's picture

Yeah, had my first kid in '09. Also lost my job a month before. I had no interest what so ever in markets and politics until that dismal year. Fortunate/Unfortunate for me I've became more concern and more so now because of my kids and their future. 

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 14:15 | 3518955 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

"Yeah, had my first kid in '09. Also lost my job a month before. I had no interest what so ever in markets and politics until that dismal year. Fortunate/Unfortunate for me I've became more concern and more so now because of my kids and their future. "


Been there done that.  Lost a business, then lost the house I had (not even trying to flip...wanted to stay forever )...and ended up homeless with 5 kids for 7 months.  Back on my feet now...but took 2 hard years.

The Matrix has been revealed to me.....never going back.  But something about me is lost.....and am just trying to teach the kids a thing or two about the real world.  Don't won't them to get fooled like I did.  ZeroHedge actually helps with that.

Hang in there 'bro.....

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:03 | 3518572 camaro68ss
camaro68ss's picture

I feel your pain man. the information we provide takes years for the average person to understand and process the eventual local and global effects.

I just dont talk about it anymore, not even with my prepper friends. We know the outcomes where as ready as we can be and we just wait for all the shoes to drop. until then, we live life the best we can.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:08 | 3518585 somecallmetimmah
somecallmetimmah's picture

Friendly advice: If you haven't done so already, buy a firearm & learn how to use it.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:24 | 3518664 Political_Savage
Political_Savage's picture

Sold out - strangley

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:49 | 3518472 SMG
SMG's picture

Well you tried to help and warn people.  That's worth something.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:35 | 3518742 Cardiodoc
Cardiodoc's picture

I'm not in the industry and it's still all I can think about and struggle not to talk about...  There's a vague awareness shared by occasional random individuals but it's like I'm wearing a different pair of glasses which give me a view of the world that's radically different than the people around me.... I guess that's why I'm deep in the bowels of Zerohedge, parastalsing among the disparately disenfranchised: on the specturm from disgustingly bemused to quietly panicked; hopeless to hostile.  I think I need a 12 step program and a bowl of hopium.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 14:40 | 3519104 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Hmm...They Live!

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 14:07 | 3518867 northerngirl
northerngirl's picture

I don't even try to have conversations with those that see the world through, "Rose", colored glasses.  That includes many of my welfare dependent relatives.  I have lost many friends, but at the same time I have made many new ones.  The great thing about that is my new friends are true friends we do not agree 100% on everything, but when it comes to the important issues in life we understand each other.  That is all that matters.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 14:57 | 3519193 Go Tribe
Go Tribe's picture

Sell those glazed over sheeple a bridge or two.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:52 | 3518483 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

The TeeVee tells everyone that everything's fine. I think it really is that simple.

I remember learning back in junior high about the different kinds of advertising. One of them was the "bandwagon technique." If a person is told the masses are doing something, he or she will have to fight instinct not to join in with the herd. Unfortunately, it's human nature to conform, and no one wants to be the odd one out. The message is "If you can't feel that everything's ok, there must be something wrong with you."

Those who fight the instinct to conform really are the weirdos because they deviate from the norm. But being different doesn't mean being wrong.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:58 | 3518840 noless
noless's picture

although herd mentality is instinctual, so is the drive to not be. the ones who can successfully live life without following the herd are called leaders. it's more difficult to determine direction without anyone obstructing your vision of whats ahead, but again, herd mentality, most will just follow whoever steps up front, as long as everyone else is.

it's the same reason why women are attracted to "rebels", whether or not they are actually rebelling against anything at all.


i've posted this before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU8DDYz68kM


seriously though, look at how wolves, wild dogs, chimps, gorillas, bonobos, elephants, cows, etc et al, structure their societies; any herd , tribe, or pack animal, bonus points for primates and omnivores, we are not all that different, we just got lucky with the thumbs and posture.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:54 | 3518501 schnydz
schnydz's picture

Well, you could've taken the blue pill. Ignorance is bliss ay?

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:54 | 3518513 Political_Savage
Political_Savage's picture


Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:23 | 3518678 oklaboy
oklaboy's picture

Savage: I know were you are coming from. When I ask my cadre, one year ago I was a doomer. Abot half of them have awoken, the other half are oblivious, and have no clue. 90% of the general population just wants there free stuff, cell phones, and when is the next pro player who is gay to come out. Let me guess, there are lesbians in the LPGA????  OMG noooooooo 

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:48 | 3518798 Mrmojorisin515
Mrmojorisin515's picture


Because you've only been reading for 17 weeks, it takes at least two years just to come to terms with this shit.  I reacted the same way as you back in 2008, now i've learned to love the bomb ;)

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 15:35 | 3519362 chunkylover42
chunkylover42's picture

I have the same experience as you.  My hope is that people have come to focus on the really important things in their life - family, friends, good health, etc.

Then I come to my senses and realize they are just delusional from all the hookers and blow of the last 4 years.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:43 | 3518443 somecallmetimmah
somecallmetimmah's picture

"But but but, Obama saved and or created 2 million jobs."

He DID.  Not 'here', but....

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:51 | 3518493 Tombstone
Tombstone's picture

He sure did; in China, Mexico and Cuba.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:19 | 3518638 BraveSirRobin
BraveSirRobin's picture

I thought we were in a drepression going into a recession.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:39 | 3518762 Meatier Shower
Meatier Shower's picture

Obviously we are just coming out of a recession. Durr...


Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:17 | 3518332 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Retail consumer sheeple are dead? Uh-oh....well at least we've got a homo in the NBA.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:35 | 3518403 camaro68ss
camaro68ss's picture

Im so scared for this country right now. The media focuses on a 3rd string NBA man coming out of the closet as the world burns in QE *

Little 15 year old girls can now NUKE there Uterus with the morning after pill at will with out a doctor to supervise, that shit can fuck you up, what is this world coming too?

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:47 | 3518473 Zer0head
Zer0head's picture

not to worry even after all these centuries remnants of Babylon still survive

or take a trip to Rome and you can see the vesitiges of another great civilization

the permanence that so many take for granted is just an illusion and one day in the not so distant future when you (we) are dust perhaps there will be someone or something musing about some place they called america


Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:56 | 3518512 Ness.
Ness.'s picture

17 people shot and 3 dead in less than 12 hours in Chicago yesterday... on a Tuesday night.  WTF?  

At least three people were killed and 17 wounded in shootings across Chicago overnight as the city saw its warmest weather in seven months. In one of the fatal shootings, three men were shot in a parking lot across the street from the headquarters of the UIC Police Department, police said. 

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:00 | 3518560 somecallmetimmah
somecallmetimmah's picture

Yeah, you know what we call that in Chicago?


Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:18 | 3518645 BraveSirRobin
BraveSirRobin's picture

At least they have strict gun control in Chicago. Think what would happen if they let peoplehave guns!

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:15 | 3518334 Smuckers
Smuckers's picture

All this means buy AAPL.....right?

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:18 | 3518337 Longtermnotreally
Longtermnotreally's picture

We might as well just ignore all economic data, has no impact whatsoever on the markets, living the lie

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:15 | 3518342 UK debt marsh
UK debt marsh's picture

Yes, but if you turn those charts upside down, all is well.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 13:46 | 3518769 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

True enough.  And if the Queen had balls she'd be the King.  So, it's all good.

Love the screen name, by the way.  Do you have an evil twin named "UK Death March"?

You would know if you ever saw him because he would look just like you but have a gotee.  Now, if YOU have a gotee then guess what that makes you?  Yes.  That.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:17 | 3518349 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Four years and trillions of wasted dollars...and our great RECOVERY is still somewhere off the right side of the charts.  

Thank you, Ben Bernanke, for this wasteland you have made for us.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:30 | 3518407 kahunabear
kahunabear's picture

The arrogance of the Fed is what shocks me the most. You have the two biggest bond managers, Bill Gross and Jeffrey Gundlach saying QE is a mistake, yet the academicians at the Fed don't even acknowledge them and proceed on with the great Keynesian experiment. It is not just a wacko tinfolier thing.

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:47 | 3518479 Law97
Law97's picture

Ah, but the top 1% are trillions of dollars wealthier.  Mission Being Accomplished.

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