Eight Measures That Reflect a Slowing U.S. Economy

The US economy is showing clear signs of slowing, fueling concerns about a possible recession.

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates in a bid to slow growth as it seeks to rein in persistently high inflation and consumer prices that are rising at their fastest pace in more than 40 years.

The labor market remains healthy – data released on Friday showed a gain of 372,000 jobs in June. But consumer spending, which drives most economic activity in the United States, is running out of steam.

Here are eight more indicators that signal trouble ahead.

1. Retail sales: The Commerce Department’s latest report showed retail sales fell 0.3% in May and rose less in April than initially thought.

2. Consumer Trust: In June, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey hit a 70-year low, with nearly half of respondents saying inflation is eroding their standard of living.

3. The housing market: Demand for real estate has declined and construction of new homes is slowing. These trends could continue as interest rates rise and property companies, including Compass and Redfin, have laid off employees in anticipation of a slowing housing market.

4. Seed funding: Investments in start-ups fell to their lowest level since 2019, falling 23% in the past three months to $62.3 billion.

5. The scholarship: The S&P 500 had its worst first half since 1970, and it’s down nearly 19% since January. All sectors of the index beyond energy are down since the start of the year.

6. Copper: Merchandise sSeen by analysts as a measure of sentiment towards the global economy – due to its widespread use in buildings, cars and other products – copper has fallen more than 20% since January, reaching a 17-month low on July 1.

7. Oil: Crude prices are up this year, in part due to supply constraints resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but have recently begun to falter as investors worry about growth. The price of Brent crude, the world’s benchmark oil, fell below $100 a barrel on Wednesday for the first time since late April.

8. The bond market: Long-term government bond interest rates fell below short-term rates, an unusual event traders call a yield curve inversion. This suggests that bond investors are expecting an economic slowdown.

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