Interest Rate Roundup

Monday, November 03, 2008

Dismal data deluge continues

Another day, another batch of dismal economic data. This time it's the ISM Manufacturing index. It came in at 38.9 in October, down from 43.5 in September and below forecasts for a reading of 41. That's the worst ISM reading going all the way back to September 1982. In case you're wondering, the worst reading ever (my data goes back 60 years) was 29.4 in May 1980.

Digging deeper into the report, the ISM subindex measuring new orders dropped to 32.2 from 38.8. The subindex measuring employment fell to 34.6 from 41.8. And the subindex measuring production dropped to 34.1 from 40.8.

Meanwhile, in the beleaguered auto sector, Ford reported that sales plunged 30% from a year earlier in October. Sales fell 23% at Toyota and 33% at Nissan. Auto sales are down 12 months in a row, the longest consecutive stretch of declines in 17 years.

UPDATE: GM just released its October sales -- down a whopping 45% YOY. Reportedly, the company is going to launch its annual "Red Tag" holiday sales event tomorrow rather than in mid-November like it usually does. Not exactly "Christmas in July," of course. But clearly GM is trying to get people into the holiday spending spirit earlier than usual this year. That's a tough sell given the state of the U.S. economy.


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