Another recession signal flashes red: RV sales are way down
We won’t know for sure that a recession is here until Donald Trump gives credit for the current state of the economy to Barack Obama, but we’ve seen plenty of ill auguries lately, and the “r word” is now on the lips of both economists and ordinary Americans.
The inverted yield curve, slowing global growth, wild gyrations in the stock market, persistent trade war fears, the New York Fed’s assessment of current recession odds, and the fact that the president of the United States knows less about the economy than most tree fungi — all are conspiring to freak peeps the fuck out lately.
And now RV sales are in the toilet.
That won’t sound terribly ominous to most folks, but the health of the recreational vehicle industry is a metric economists take pretty seriously — and it’s not looking good.
Total wholesale shipments of recreation vehicles are down 20.3 percent, year to date, across the industry, signaling to some Indiana economists that a recession is on the way. Companies such as Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. have slashed production and cut back the work week to slow the pace of production.
Economists reading the tea leaves for signs of a recession have typically held declining RV shipments as a strong warning of a contracting U.S. economy.
In case you’re keeping score at home, a 20 percent decline in anything is pretty brutal — especially in an industry that’s closely followed by economists.
Oh, and guess whose fault it is?
[Ball State economist Michael] Hicks, along with business professor Kyle Anderson at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, said the looming recession results from disruptions in international trade by President Donald Trump's trade wars and tariffs imposed on key U.S. foreign trading partners like China, Mexico and Canada.
“The big problem for Indiana is that we make a lot of things,” Hicks said. “A big chunk of what we make is exported overseas — about 10½ percent of our economy.”
So essentially Donald Trump is turning America into a big, gristly, marginally inedible Trump Steak.
Oh, but he knows how to sell the sizzle, doesn’t he? Well, not for long, apparently.
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