^^^Commercial construction has so far been running counter-trend but the Wall Street Journal ran a recent article about how that is showing signs of ending.
I am in the camp that believes we are probably entering a recession or, at the minimum, a period of stagflation. I have thought this for a while and been wrong, but I think now I’m right. I agree with most of what Travellin Man says except about the "house of cards" which suggests the Fed is doing something wrong. I think what they are doing is correct however it may be insufficient. The US has been living on borrowed money–much of it from overseas–for too long and the bills are coming due. The only way we can work our way out of this mess is to lower the value of the dollar making goods manufactured in the US relatively inexpensive compared to those manufactured elsewhere. This will have a number of effects:
1. In the short run, we’ll sell more aboroad and import somewhat less although what we do import will cost more in dollars (which is inflationary)
2. In the medium to longer term, we should see manufacturing jobs begin to return to the US
3. Most of the huge debt we owe internally and around the world is in dollars and it will make those debts easier to pay although, again, in the short run it may have the negative effect of causing the lenders to stop lending which could be dangerous (a too sudden/swift dollar collapse could REALLY hurt the US economy)
As this plays out, the US is going to have to lower its living standard–because nearly everything we buy is made abroad and will cost more–until it can again start earning enough to support the desired lifestyle without borrowing (at which point the relative value of the dollar should start rising again). In that sense, what everyone is sensing or feeling may well be the early stages of the process.