U.S. Manufacturing Shrinking Again

In more grim economic news, the Associated Press reported today that U.S. manufacturing output shrank in June for the first time since 2009:

U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in nearly three years, adding to signs that economic growth is weakening.

Production declined, and the number of new orders plunged, according to a monthly report released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management. …

The trade group of purchasing managers said its index of manufacturing activity fell to 49.7. That’s down from 53.5 in May. And it’s the lowest reading since July 2009, a month after the Great Recession officially ended. Readings below 50 indicate contraction. …

Economists said the manufacturing figures were consistent with growth at an annual rate of 1.5 percent or less. That would be down from the January-March quarter’s already tepid annual pace of 1.9 percent.

All of these numbers are simply dreadful. This chart shows U.S. GDP growth from 2000 through 2011. If we add a mere 1.5% growth for 2012, we can see that at best, the U.S. is experiencing a pathetic recovery from a deep recession:

We are currently in fourth year of the Obama administration; to make one obvious comparison, GDP growth in Ronald Reagan’s fourth year in office was 7.3%. Worst case, we are sliding into another recession. We have been focused for the past few days, understandably, on the Supreme Court’s disappointing Obamacare decision. But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture: President Obama’s record in office is terrible, worse than that of any president who has been re-elected in modern times.

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