As if a horrible housing market isn't enough of a drag on the economy, businesses are now curtailing their spending as well. In December, a survey of manufacturers indicated that their budgets are being cut, and this week we learned that service sector businesses are also contracting. The bad news: recession. The good news: additional Fed rate cuts. The chart below shows the decline in the manufacturing and services sectors indices. An index reading above 50 indicates that the sector is generally expanding. Our grading system of the economy and the housing market is a "bell curve" model, with statistics at an all-time high receiving an "A," statistics near the long-term average receiving a "C," and the worst times ever receiving an "F." In this grading system, it is OK to be a ...
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