Within the last week, the following statements have appeared in The Wall Street Journal:
- "Retail sales declined in June while more goods piled up on shelves."
- "Inventory remains low compared with sales." (These two appeared in the same article!)
- "Fed cautious about recovery."
- "Jobless claims decline."
All this data leads to ask what is really going on in the overall economy. I spent a day this week visiting a customer and end user in the southeast US. Their business is up significantly this year. However — and a big however — they are doing it with 1 less day of production. When things were slow, they cut back on their production hours. They are now producing more product with 1 less day of production than they did during the glory days of 2007 and 2008.