Surveys Show US Economy Slowing In Real Time

A report showing a veritable plunge in new home sales wasn’t the only US data release to disappoint expectations on Tuesday.

Flash reads on S&P Global’s PMIs for the world’s largest economy missed estimates too, giving the recession crowd still more incremental evidence to make the case.

At 53.5, the services gauge printed below the lowest estimate. It’s 17 points below May 2021’s level (figure below).

The manufacturing gauge missed only slightly, and remains squarely in expansion territory, but the pace of activity is subdued compared to the blistering rate characteristic of the pandemic rebound.

Although the employment gauge on the manufacturing survey rose to the highest since July, the services employment index fell, while the input prices gauge hit a new record.

“The surge in input prices was linked by companies to supplier-driven price hikes for a wide variety of goods and services as demand often continued to outstrip supply, as well as higher interest rates, wage bills, fuel costs and higher transportation fees,” the color accompanying the release read.

To be sure, business confidence remained generally buoyant, but as Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, cautioned, “the early survey data for May indicate that the recent economic growth spurt has lost further momentum.” Firms, Williamson wrote, said demand is “under pressure from [the rising] cost of living, higher interest rates and a broader economic slowdown.”

Meanwhile, the Richmond Fed gauge joined the Philly Fed and Empire surveys in printing a large miss. At -9 (figure below), the headline was short of the most pessimistic estimate and nowhere near consensus, which expected 10 (that’s positive 10).

Gauges of shipments and new orders both plunged, as did capacity utilization.

“On a positive note, there was some indication of supply chain improvement as the indexes for vendor lead time and order backlogs both decreased in May from record highs earlier in the year,” the accompanying color noted.

The wage index was “elevated” and prices paid were described as increasing “notably.”

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2 thoughts on “Surveys Show US Economy Slowing In Real Time

  1. I’m a cheap bastard so I’m always looking to spend as little as possible regardless of the economic situation (also I’m poor and just graduated with a bunch of student debt — come on Biden!), and I’ve moonlighted as a reseller on Amazon for a few years. I track a ton of competitors prices using, probably a couple thousand products at the moment, and prices have been dropping across the board. Everyone (including a lot of Amazon-sold products, not just 3rd party) is dropping their prices, it seems. Sales have got to be hurting. I’ve also noticed a lot more places are having decent sales again, too (based on what i’ve seen at the slickdeals forum). I know it’s all anecdotal, but all those same anecdotes were saying “prices are going up indefinitely and you’re never getting a good sale again” over the previous few years.

    1. Jon-
      Just recently read this article and sent it to my son (24). Given your introduction to yourself, I thought you might appreciate this “angle”. Not a bad way to create some wealth. I bought my first rental property in 1993 when mortgage rates were 7-8%. I lived in one unit with my boyfriend and rented out the other 5. After we paid the mortgage and all expenses of the building, we netted a few hundred/month.

      I know I am “off topic”, so bringing my comment back to H’s post on the slowing US (global?) economy – I need a chair and when I went shopping earlier today, I was offered a 12% discount before I even had said I was interested. Plus- the chair can be delivered in 3 weeks. The last time I ordered furniture (2021), I had to wait 6 months for delivery.

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