I stumbled across several graphs at EconompicData.com that speak volumes about the real state of the economy.
First, take a look at the commercial paper market:
Now take a look at nonresidential investment:
Jake points out that nonfinancial companies have been opting for longer funding maturities and moving away from the CP market but as you can see there is still a tremendous decline in paper outstanding. If the Fed wasn’t backstopping this market one wonders where it would settle.
The decline in nonresidential investment is very worrisome. This is an economy’s seed stock. It’s what drives future productivity and job creation. I think the chart probably paints a pretty good picture of the future expectations of business at this point in time.
But, cheer up, things could get worse. You could live in Europe and have this to deal with: