Officially, the U.S. is not in recession with critics saying the government altered the definition in 2021. But signs in the economy continue to tell a different story.
Existing home sales across the U.S. are at their lowest level in more than 12 years, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.
While the data shows that prices have stabilized somewhat, mortgage rates have resumed their upward trend.
According to Reuters who looked at the data, existing home sales fell fell to their lowest level since October 2010, when the nation was grappling with the foreclosure crisis. That marked the 12th straight monthly decline in sales, the longest such stretch since 1999.
Home resales, which account for the biggest share of U.S. housing sales, plunged 36.9 percent on a year-on-year basis in January.
Walmart and Lower Earnings
Walmart Inc. is warning warned that lower spending by consumers will pressure profit margins and prevent the company from meeting earnings goals.
The company’s stocks remain on a roller coaster as as it deals with price-hikes from many of its product suppliers from what remains historically high-inflation.
Higher U.S. consumer prices, higher costs for housing, cars, and food, are raising fears the U.S. Federal Reserve could raise interest rates causing the economy to further dive into a deeper recession after July.
Home Depot on Tuesday said it is also expecting weaker profits.
Big Box Stores Closing
At least 800 big-box stores have plans to shutter stores in 2023.
Walmart joins Bed Bath & Beyond, Gap, and Party City that are each downsizing and closing locations with Bath & Beyond being left with 480 stores, down from 1,500.
Other well-known brands closing stores include Macy’s, Big Lots, Amazon Fresh, and JCPenny. Tuesday Morning, which is also going through bankruptcy, is closing 265 stores, according to CNBC.
Missing from the major headlines are other retailers stealthily closing locations. They include CVS, Rite-Aid, Kroger, Nordstrom, and Best Buy.
Everyone from Big Tech to manufacturing is cutting staff.
“Over the past three months there has been a notable increase in announcements of layoffs and hiring freezes,” said David Peterson, co-founder of Bankdash.com.
“Not only is a rise in the unemployment rate a key characteristic of a recession but also, companies tend to have a great sense of where the economy is headed and so their actions are a great indicator for the broader economy. The widespread nature of the layoffs and hiring freezes is a clear sign that companies are concerned about an imminent economic slowdown. Companies announcing layoffs include Tesla, Netflix, Ford, Shopify, Carvana, Oracle and Coinbase. Companies announcing hiring freezes include JPMorgan Chase, Google, Intel and Facebook.”
–Dwight Widaman and wire services