Monday, November 3, 2008, 3:49 PM
Even as the stock market grinds on through its bear market rally, the real economy continues to slide off its narrow shelf like a boneless chicken seeking someplace lower.
First, factory activity plunged to its lowest reading since 1982. How significant is this? Well, in 1982 we were in the depths of a very severe recession. (This one hasn't even officially started, according to the NBER, who are squirming desperately to avoid proclaiming one right before an election). For factory activity to plunge like this at the outset of a recession speaks to a very deep economic hit in our near future.
Factory sector weakens sharply in October
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The nation's manufacturing firms reported the worst level of output in 26 years, further evidence that the economy is slumping sharply, according to a closely followed survey of top executives released Monday.
The Institute for Supply Management index fell to 38.9% from 43.5% in September, below the 41.5% expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. See Economic Calendar.
The result is the lowest reading since September 1982. The indexes for production and new orders fell to their lowest level in 28 years.
What do factories make? You know, cars and things. Perhaps these two news items belong together, then: » Read more