Shrinkage is terrible … even if you really were “in the pool,” it’s still embarrassing.

Growth, on the other hand, is good. Particularly when it’s robust growth. Unfortunately, the global economy is experiencing nothing of the sort – as evidenced by a rash of terrible fourth quarter economic readings released this week.

In France, the economy was expected to contract by 0.2 percent. It actually dropped by 0.3 percent. In Germany, analysts projected a 0.5 percent decline but were greeted instead by a 0.6 percent drop. Similar higher-than-expected declines were recorded in Italy (0.6 percent projected, 0.9 percent actual drop), Hungary (0.3 versus 0.9 percent) and Portugal (1.0 versus 1.8 percent).

All told the economic slippage in the struggling Eurozone was 0.6 percent – worse than the 0.4 percent analysts were expecting. That’s the largest economic backslide since the first quarter of 2009, when the global recession was in full swing.

Why does this matter for America?

That’s easy: We need Europe to buy the stuff we make – and if Europe is broke, it isn’t buying. In fact as we’ve noted in the past, some states are more prone to European woes than others (cough, cough).


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