While manufacturing struggles, three other big consumer sectors are showing signs of growth or recovery that pretty much negate the possibility of another recession.
Admittedly, this is a very confusing time. Manufacturers are reporting gloomy numbers and that has a negative effect on the stock market.
Yet at same time, the most recent report on auto sales is glowing. GM is up 10%, Ford is up 12%, and Chrysler is up 14%. The foreign automakers are seeing growth in sales too. Toyota is up 14%, Hyundai is up 4% (though their sub-brand Kia is up a whopping 21%), and Nissan is up 8%. All numbers are much higher than analysts expected.
But it is not just auto sales. Most retailers are reporting better numbers than expected too. Home prices made the biggest jump in 6 years. In most places, prices are moving up from a year ago with a few exceptions. But the overall story is a lot of recovery in real estate as supply coming back into synch with demand, owing to a lack of new construction after a decade of speculative over-building.
So housing, auto, and retail — three big consumer sectors are all showing great signs of recovery or health. The overall picture means sluggish growth, not much to write home about, but nothing to hint at another recession.