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Wondering About a Depression

Rising unemployment, declining hours worked weekly, the under-employed not counted in official numbers, the unemployed who have given up also not counted in the official numbers, super-low interest rates which diminish income to those who depend on interest income from CDs or government bonds, the new austerity and the new high savings rate.

It all adds up to a recession morphing into a depression: high overall unemployment, decreasing wages (lots of people taking wage cuts to save their jobs), decreasing interest income, decreased willingness to spend and an increased willingness to save. Combine this with a glut of homes, a glut of cars, a glut of banks with tighening lending standards, a glut of retail outlets, and you make the case for lower demand and higher supply, leading to declining prices across the board: income, goods and services, commodities, stocks, commerical and residential real estate.

The blip back up in commodity prices appears to have been partly investment flow, partly speculation, and partly are an over-sold bounce. Factoring out the rise in stuff like copper and oil, which is even now reversing, the depression scenario continues to play itself out. We may have a few more years of this.