Ignore the government published indicators: The economy is contracting. This is bad.
Marc Faber: McDonald’s tells us why the market will collapse
Faber has an excellent point. If people are cutting McDonald's out of their budgets, then they must be strapped for cash. The rest follows.
By the way, the Consumer Price Index does not track food prices or energy prices (for some reason). The CPI looks good in the news, but we little people have to obey our wallets -- and looks don't count.
If you don't trust government indicators (and you shouldn't), then become familiar with
Shadow Stats http://www.shadowstats.com/
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