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Art Cashin On Why The "Economy Is Weaker Than It Has Been In 21 Months"

Tyler Durden's picture


The key focus of Cashin's daily letter today has to do with the steadfast resilience of the ECRI's Lakshman Achuthan, who called for a recession back in September, and when asked yesterday if he reaffirms his call, he says "Consider it reaffirmed." He then proceeds to list out the "key, hard facts" summarizing the litany of truth as follows: "The economy is weaker today than it has been in 21 months." And scene.

From UBS Financial Services:

“The Facts Ma’am. Just The Facts” - That was the classic interrogatory posture of Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) in the popular and long running radio and TV series, “Dragnet”. Just the facts was the posture taken by Lakshman Achuthan of ECRI in two recent interviews on the economy.


Last week Becky Quick interviewed Achuthan to see if he had adjusted or tempered his call that the U.S. was headed into a recession. That interview created enough of a stir that Bloomberg called him in for an interview on their network. We don’t have the transcript on Becky’s interview but here’s a bit of Achuthan’s Bloomberg interview:

Q: Lakshman, in three years there has not been a more anticipated set of interviews than with you today. Reaffirm your recession call.

A: Consider it reaffirmed, and let me explain why. Since our recession call five months ago, the definitive, hard data used to determine official recession dates have gotten worse, not better, despite the consensus view that things have been improving since we made that call in late September.

Q: Is the beginning of a consumption slowdown apparent?

A: Let’s go to those key, hard facts. GDP growth, year-over-year, peaked in the third quarter of 2010 at 3.5%. By the second quarter of 2011, it had fallen to 1.5% and it’s basically flat-lined from there. It has not reaccelerated. It’s a similar pattern for personal income growth and it’s a similar pattern for the broad measures of sales growth. As of January, when you look at industrial production growth, year-over-year, it has now declined to a 22-month low. Taking all of these key aggregate measures of output, jobs, income, and sales, putting it into our Coincident Index, the growth rate has now dropped to a 21-month low. The economy is weaker today than it has been in 21 months.

There’s more to the interview but you get the gist. Given a chance to modify his stance in the face of new, apparently improving data, he declined. He’s sticking with his call and that bears watching, given the excellent record of ECRI.


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Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:54 | 2216820 Moneyswirth
Moneyswirth's picture

Looks like Artie might be dipping into the Jamesons way before St Patty's day this year

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:55 | 2216825 redpill
redpill's picture

I can just imagine the look of disbelief and disgust on Becky's face that someone would still deny the roaring recovery obviously taking place as evidenced by momo stock prices increasing.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:28 | 2216860 Don Birnam
Don Birnam's picture

You stole my thunder, sir. One can picture that smarmy, contemptuous guffaw loosed through her Buffett-laced lips.


Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:41 | 2216971 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

Every time I read Becky Quick's name, I immediately think of the horror she must have felt taking that 80 year-old dick in her mouth (and wherever else). I realize it would give her access to Warren for interviews and further her career and all, but how could you live with yourself after that? It would be like the Vietnam vets having flashbacks of combat. She would never know when the vision of Warren full Monty would come into your brain.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:48 | 2217196 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Thank you all for reminding me why I don't watch TV.

Saw a still pix of Becky (in a BI article I think), and she doesn't seem all that hot anyway...

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:55 | 2217214 redpill
redpill's picture

Plenty of vets from Nicaragua, Iran, El Salvador, Libya, Lebanon, Grenada, Haiti, Panama, Gulf War I, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and all the other various adventures since Vietnam (and soon to be Syria and Iran) probably have some flashbacks too.  I just don't understand why we get called imperialists.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:06 | 2216862 Taterboy
Taterboy's picture

Probably matched the look of disgust the first time she saw Warren naked in his magic bathtub.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:37 | 2216959 Jay Gould Esq.
Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

Actually, the most visceral disbelief was likely expressed by the Official Scribe of Wall Street, Andrew "Ross" Sorkin -- who, curiously, bears a striking resemblance to another NBC character from decades ago, Knucklehead Smiff:




...Or did I juxtapose ?

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:05 | 2217020 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

Hey lay off Knucklehead Smiff, he's blameless in all this. At least he appears to be, nowadays it's really hard to tell.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:31 | 2216952 Below Zero
Below Zero's picture

That might be something else you are seeing all over Becky's face and it isn't Warren's shaving cream.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:57 | 2216827 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

"And scene."

Seen, sad, and obscene.

No need to remind y'all that.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:58 | 2216832 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

"The economy is weaker today than it has been in 21 months."

That's not what the nice man in the glowing box told me. Wait, now that I think about it, his name is Liesman.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:10 | 2216879 Taterboy
Taterboy's picture

If he was watching CNBS, he would also know that the bottom in housing is in. Again.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:58 | 2216833 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

No doubt the shills at CNBS were laughing behind his back. I can't watch those smug pricks anymore.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:11 | 2217038 derek_vineyard
derek_vineyard's picture

turn off the volume, zoom in on the female announcers and fantasize

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:09 | 2216834 Mercury
Mercury's picture

I think this is the CNBC interview in question:

 One of his main points is that central banks are "printing like crazy" but there is very little velocity - that money isn't really going anywhere but the market.

...and we're reminded once again of the dry-tinder-buildup-in-the-forest  analogy.

The CNBC crew sound like children.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:59 | 2216835 bullet
bullet's picture

aal you need to know about Becky's interview...

"but Warren said"

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:00 | 2216843 Moneyswirth
Moneyswirth's picture

Haha.  That's a joke right?

Well Warren said "this market is great if you have billions in cash like me....blah blah blah"

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:59 | 2216839 The trend is yo...
The trend is your friend's picture

the market will be positive in 4...3...2....1

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:59 | 2216841 Capitalist
Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:02 | 2216849 wherewasi
wherewasi's picture

From the immortal Frank Zappa and an era (late '70's) that brought us just as much joy as the current crooks and swindlers...

Well, well Hey lawdy mama,  

Can't afford no shoes

Maybe there's a bundle of rags that I could use

Hey anybody, Can you spare a dime

If you're really hurtin', a nickel would be fine

Hey everybody Nothin' we can buy

Chump hare rama, ain't no good to try



Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:10 | 2217035 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

A line of his from the early '70s, "We look pretty sharp in these clothes unless we get sprayed with a hose", seems particularly relevant today.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:02 | 2216853 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

Weak economy is good for the stock market.

QE3, 4, and 5 on deck. 

Money for nothing and your oil for $200.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:54 | 2217002 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Nope, no more QE's sorry....while everyones convinced of that what theyll really do is pull the rug out one morning. No way in hell is anyone going to 'print' more 0's while oil is up $5 a day now. If I know it, then Ben has known it all this point he could print a trillion 0's a day and we're still rocketing further into depression. The game is over, just no ones blown the whistle yet.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:06 | 2217032 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

Every time I fill up I try and console myself with that thought "this must mean the end QE, this must mean...". It doesn't really help though.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 17:18 | 2218172 X86BSD
X86BSD's picture

See I dont think thats true. The FED wont come out and admit to an open QE, but they will silently and secretly do another QE via the IMF. They will just shove money into the IMF that does the QE for them.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:36 | 2217156 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture





I am a jew.

I come from a large family of Eastern European Jews.

Some observant, some not.


It is racist, anst-semtic, 3rd reich scapegoating, CRAP.

I believe in free speech. I try and stay out of ignorant, racist, lowest common denominator debates. However, if i believe that the debate has become disrespectful, to Zerohedge and what it stands for, i will have the debate temporarily halted. That is not a threat, it is a statement.


Let that be a Lesson to ALL! of You Goy Slaves! It is a Statement! of Authority!

Freedom of Speech!

And Censorship of the Truth!

Are at her finger tips!


Honestly! You Goy Slaves should have known better than to Anger Your Owner Lizzy!


If this sounds familiar! Here is why! Barbra Specter and Lizzy have that same “Jewish Authority over the Rest of us Goys!” We Goys can be silenced whenever it suits our Jewish Masters! And that is NOT! a Threat.. Per Lizzy! That is a Statement! See the video below and see if you can as well recognize the similarity between Barbra and Lizzy? Maybe Lizzy is Barbra? Who knows.


and for those of you wanting to know.. TruthInSunshine

 shares these views of Lizzy’s! and backs up Lizzy’s power to Silence the Goy Slaves! Truth be Damned!


Given the Fact that Lizzy has used Lobby Dollars with Tyler.. to provide herself with a Bully pulpit! And of course more sway than the rest of us.. Because of the Lobby Dollars.. I would implore you Goy Slaves to behave.. shy away from the Facts and the Truth for fear of being politically incorrect by AIPAC’s Standards!


It should be as well noted that Tyler has been threatened with a Law Suit for Liable! By the Jewish Lobby here at ZeroHedge!


The Truth it seems will not set you free! With regard to your Jewish Owners!


Let this be a lesson to ALL of You Goy Slaves!


Let us ALL! try to NOT! get Tyler or Fight Club in any Trouble.. even if the FACTS! Are being put forth for discussion!


Thank You for Your Time!


P.S. You will notice that 50,000 plus reads and over 600 comments later that Lizzy Allowed the Goy Slaves to have their Rant! LULZ!!


Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:21 | 2217293 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

Well at least the price of chicks should come down. Not to "free" but probably close.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:05 | 2216859 adr
adr's picture

There's a shitstorm of epic proportions building up with the levels of inventory being produced. I guess it won't matter as for some reason selling millions of products at a loss is somehow bullish.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:07 | 2216868 the 300000000th...
the 300000000th percent's picture

The Fed and the other cartels are trying like crazy to make inflation and they are getting some from all of this printing. Not only does it make there debts more bearable to holders of US T's like China and every other T holder but it also is causing the prices of stocks to go up making the appearance of an economic recovery! What a sham! With the help of the Dept of BS Labor Stats The Berskank and the BLS at the same time are trying to convince most Americans that there is no inflation!! And most of the zombies are buying it for now.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:29 | 2216950 brooklynlou
brooklynlou's picture

I dont think the masses are buying anything coming out of the MSM's pie holes.

- People are still deleveraging like crazy
- Individual investors are still leaving the market
- Average car age is still creeping higher
- The housing market, THE place where people invest their money, is still grinding down

Basically everyone is still keeping their powder dry in case theres a second dip.

May things get better in the short term? Maybe, who knows. One thing we know for sure is that the herd aint convinced.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:21 | 2217092 Dan Conway
Dan Conway's picture

Based on my small sample polling data, I agree with your four points.  I travel for work and visit a fair number of profitable businesses I can tell you that people just don't buy into the story that things are OK.  It is better today than early 2009 but this is not pre-2008 either.  If today is as good as it is going to get then the next decade is going to be forgettable. 

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 17:24 | 2218196 X86BSD
X86BSD's picture

Tell me about it! I still drive a 2001 Toyota Echo. I wanted to replace it after 10 years, I am now on year 11 and it will probably be another year before I replace it, with a maxi-scooter no less. Gas is already $3.79 here in milwaukee. Dont tell me it wont go WELL over $4.00 this summer. It might even hit $5.00. And because this winter was so mild for most of the country if spring arrives early and it gets nicer out it may hit $5 sooner rather than later. But who knows. There are too many variables. If Iran is invaded. If the Saudis attack us again. Who knows?




Sat, 03/03/2012 - 11:49 | 2219592 DosZap
DosZap's picture


Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:07 | 2216869 Roy T
Roy T's picture

Everybody buy YELP!! That will make you feel better, get on board.  <snark

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:08 | 2216870 saywhat
saywhat's picture

While I greatly respect ECRI's work, I do find it curious that the "Coppock Bond Gauge" is close to a sell signal on the long bond.  The accuracy of this tool has been significant.

Color me confused.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:11 | 2216884 Moneyswirth
Moneyswirth's picture

Who are the morons buying YELP at $25 a pop? 

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:18 | 2216913 taniquetil
taniquetil's picture

Presumably they're the same morons who popped Zynga by 8%. WTF is this market?

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:34 | 2217148 Taterboy
Taterboy's picture

The Federal Reserve.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:12 | 2217266 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

...the same ones who have bid HOG up to $46 / share.....YELP and SQUEAL...the pigs at the trough....while back at the abbatoir, the cutters are honing their blades.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:17 | 2216906 peekcrackers
peekcrackers's picture

and thats why i buy silver and gold ! Its still on sales as long as the jackasses keep fucking with the prices.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:18 | 2216914 JuicyGrabs
JuicyGrabs's picture

"We don`t have the transcript of Becky`s interview"


Here is the CNBC link which includes transcript and video

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:01 | 2217019 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Becky- 'But, but we FEEL a lot better than we did'...(repeat 20 times)....WTF are you talking about? For the last 3 years youve been ORGASMIC every day! Show me ONE time Becky was down in the dumps? GREEN SHOOTS! MUSTARD SEEDS! BETTER THAN EXPECTED! 

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:03 | 2217023 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

That must have slipped throught the "only if it has a positive spin do we archive it" filter. Thanks.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:23 | 2216936 Jlmadyson
Jlmadyson's picture

Funny thing is I'm pretty sure they haven't even priced in $4-5 gas. It's going to hit the fan all in due course just like 08.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:24 | 2216937 Clint Liquor
Clint Liquor's picture


Lakshman Achuthan is a 'Recovering Economy Denier'. The science is settled. The Economy is recovering. /sarc/

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:01 | 2217022 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

'We FEEL better'!

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:14 | 2217271 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

as in, Boy do I feel better after laying that 2' long X 3" diameter cable that I'd been packing around for  a week, or two....

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:38 | 2216964 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Becky must've soiled herself in that interview.  No wonder they had to wheel out Uncle Warren and the delusion-king Dick Bove shortly thereafter...

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:42 | 2216973 Eric L. Prentis
Eric L. Prentis's picture

CNBC crew is dumbfounded as Lakshman says "I'm giving you facts here, that's what we base this recession call on, facts."

My economic model predicts the US will slip back into recession in April/May 2012.


Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:08 | 2217034 Clint Liquor
Clint Liquor's picture

Facts are not relevant on CNBC.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:23 | 2217275 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

Facts are an anathema to CNBC

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:44 | 2216982 Olympia
Olympia's picture

Loan sharks knew that if they took the dollars printing machines under their control they could suffocate the world ...they could initially suffocate USA and after taking the USA from the Americans, they could move and suffocate the whole world and take the countries from their people.

FED printed cheap money and loansharking multiplied this money in an unnatural way within the American economy boarders and they discarded them abroad so that they did not threaten USA. USA became the first state in the world with artificial “breathing”...

It cannot be possible but just in the USA for only the last year, more than one million houses were seized. It cannot be impossible but the New World has returned to tents and shelters ..has returned to the ages of Columbus. It cannot be possible that we allow to a few loan sharks looting the toils and the assets of people...


Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:52 | 2216990 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

There are things that are different this time.

One is tempted all the time to re-evaluate one's thinking when faced with relentless media coverage slanted positive (because their advertisers have informed them that negative news does not stimulate buying of their products, and they will not fund negative news with advertising buys).  But then one is faced with information that simply cannot exist with other information.

Case in point, the 10 year US paper at 1.99% amid Q4 GDP 3% and inflation of 2.9% latest reported.  You do realize this is not possible?  You can't lend money for rates less than inflation.  You are repaid cheaper dollars and lose money.  People are lending that money because they are terrified and have to hide somewhere, and they've been doing it for several years now.  That's different this time.

Case in point, global crude&condensate production has not risen since 2006.  The planet's population has gone from 6.5 billion to 7 billion in that time.  That's different this time.

Case in point, the Labor Participation Rate has fallen 3% since about 2000 and 2 of that 3% has been since 2008.  It had risen from 1983 to 2000 the same amount.  We are back to where we were in 1983.  This decline is the first of this magnitude on record in 60+ years, as long as data has been kept.  That's different this time.

Case in point, there have never been 7 billion people on the planet before.  That's different this time.

Case in point, there has never been 16 trillion in gov't debt on the books before.  There have never been $1+ trillion annual deficits before 2009 (even inflation adjusted in WW II), and there have been 3 in a row the last three years.  That's different this time.


Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:58 | 2217014 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

And there is already 7 billion and one people on the planet, so this is different this time.

No. While it is not easy for US citizens to face reality as it would be self indictive, others can.

What matters is not the number of people on the planet but the people who do the actual consuming.

And that is what is not different as time passes by.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:00 | 2217237 gnomon
gnomon's picture

And that is why your country of origin, (China), has The West in their crosshairs.  China intends to change the relative levels of consumption by hook or by crook.  But how could your overseers possibly engorge all of that appropriated wealth while still starving the peasants in the West of your country, (and harvesting their organs)?  

There are levels of Hell, of Evil.  The PRC leadership is right there at the very top.  We have not yet joined you there, and until we do you have no stance to criticize us.  We have not yet been so thoroughly subsumed into Tyranny.

The Fight still goes on here.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:55 | 2217004 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture


doesn't matter

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:27 | 2217115 sasebo
sasebo's picture

Paper & digital money is not wealth, sorry. Money is just a medium of exchange & only if there is someting to exchange, which requires that someone produce something besides paper or digital money. Money is supposed to be a store of value also, but only if someone produces something of value. The stock & bond markets, CDS, other deravatives are not wealth, sorry. Checking & bank accounts are not wealth either. Printing paper money & creating digital money on a computer don't create wealth. Anybody who thinks so is stupid, like Bernanke, Geithner & Obama, et al.

Just trying to help us maintain our perspective. But we can't forget this shit. 

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:30 | 2217132 Madrid2020
Madrid2020's picture

Yesterday's favorite MSM spin was Scott Pelley(CBS)  noting "yet another indication of our economic recovery" with the revised monthly unemployment figures dropping to 351,000 from 354,000 and as if these numbers really mean anything! 13 million unemployed and Pelley goes for the "4,000" revision! Nice spin.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 13:42 | 2217173 Fortunes Favor
Fortunes Favor's picture

A look at transports also raises economic concerns

Stalking The Bear: Trouble In Transports

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 18:29 | 2218365 kurt
kurt's picture

And the BDI Baltic Dry Index... off the cliff and then bounced a little but way way down

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 14:03 | 2217243 miker
miker's picture

Doesn't everyone undestand by now that all the positive economy news of late has been pure propaganda?  As a contrarion signal, it's very bearish.  The goverenment has turned up the heat, as it were, on their press manipulation.   God sakes, even Warren Buffet was asked to hawk buying houses.  Great investment!  Great Warren, go buy yourself a million fucking houses.

No, things are not as they are portrayed.  Remember this.  Currently we're spending 1.2+ trillion to keep the economy from collapsing.  The deficit IS THE STIMULUS.  Where have all the deficit hawks been lately??  They've quieted up because they've gotten 'religion'.  Better shut up and see if we can't get this economy to grow a bit, or all bets are off.

1.2 TRILLION DOLLARS = 30 million jobs at $40K /year.  So think about it.  If we balanced the budget tomorrow (doesn't matter how, it's all money in the economy), we would lose the equivalent of 30 million jobs.  Out of a 150 million job workforce = 20% unemployment + existing 10-15% = 30-40% unemployment.  Now that's a DEPRESSION.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 17:32 | 2218025 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Gotta love the chick on CNBC's retort of Achuthan's recession call: "BUT WE ARE FEELING BETTER!"

I'm telling ya, something is gonna happen financially between now and Dec 2012. 

Collapse of dollar, DOW losing 2000+ points in a week, attack on Iran.  Something.

Something is going to happen to give the corporate "elites" the reason to go Galt on the rest of society and hit the reset button.  And freak everyone the fuck out due to the Mayans.

I *can* feel it.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 20:15 | 2218656 davey
davey's picture

A 1920 dollar gold piece is 1/20 of a ounce. Based on today's gold price it is worth about 82 dollars by weight. Looking back when we were on the gold standard this coin bought 20 dollars of product. By any measure this coin today only implies 400% inflation today when the reality is between 1920 and 2012 we have definitely seen at a minimum 1000% inflation which would imply a value for this coin by weight to be worth 200 dollars. In conclusion this implys a fair gold price of at least 4000 dollars.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 21:15 | 2218758 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture



As I pointed out here, the economy is shrinking about 7% per year.  The only reason GDP is higher yoy is inflation and rising prices.

Sat, 03/03/2012 - 10:49 | 2219534 cnhedge
cnhedge's picture

ecri coincides with market bottom. with

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