If the U.S. economy really is in “good shape”, then why are so many prominent businesses rushing to permanently shut down locations that were once profitable? As you will see below, U.S. banks are closing thousands of branches and U.S. retailers are closing thousands of stores. If a new golden age of prosperity is dead ahead, that wouldn’t make any sense at all. Of course the truth is that most Americans are really struggling in our current economic environment, and conditions are going to get even worse in 2024.
Bank executives can see what is happening, and so they are feverishly trimming costs.
During the first 10 months of this year, banks in the United States closed a total of 2,118 branches…
U.S. banks closed 2,118 branch locations between January and the end of October, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Sadly, branches continue to get shut down at a staggering rate.
For example, it is being reported that Bank of America has decided to permanently shut down “nearly two dozen Bay Area branches or ATMs”…
Bank of America has shuttered or plans to shutter nearly two dozen Bay Area branches or ATMs, according to recent filings.
Banks are legally required to report closures to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency at least 90 days before their scheduled shuttering, so customers will know if they’ll be impacted.
Another way that banks are cutting costs is by laying off workers.
According to Zero Hedge, twenty of the largest banks have combined to eliminate 61,905 jobs so far this year…
A new report from the Financial Times shows twenty of the world’s largest banks slashed 61,905 jobs in 2023, a move to protect profit margins in a period of high interest rates amid a slump in dealmaking and equity and debt sales. This compared with the 140,000 lost during the GFC of 2007-08.
“There is no stability, no investment, no growth in most banks — and there are likely to be more job cuts,” said Lee Thacker, owner of financial services headhunting firm Silvermine Partners.
FT noted that corporate disclosure data and its independent reporting did not include smaller regional bank cuts, indicating total job loss could be much higher.
The banks are not okay.
In fact, I expect the big banks to make lots of headlines in 2024.
Meanwhile, problems continue to pile up for the retail industry.
CNN says that Nike is “a bellwether for the global economy”, and so the fact that the company is planning to cut costs by about 2 billion dollars is not a good sign at all…
Nike, a bellwether for the global economy, sounded a warning sign Thursday as the sneaker giant sees consumers becoming more cautious.
Nike slashed its revenue outlook for the year and announced cost cuts amid growing concerns that consumers are slowing their spending around the world. The company said it’s looking for as much as $2 billion in cost savings in the next three years, which includes laying off employees.
But at least Nike is still in business.
2023 was a year when U.S. retailers closed thousands of stores, and a number of well known chains actually had to file for bankruptcy…
Twenty major retailers axed 2,847 locations between them in 2023, according to Business Insider – as more and more shoppers buy their products online
The issue has been exacerbated by rampant spates of crime which have forced many companies to lock up their products. Earlier this year, Target alone said it was losing as much as $500 million a year to theft.
It is little wonder then that retailers are struggling to cope. Bed Bath & Beyond, Rite Aid and Party City are among the major chains to have filed for bankruptcy in the last 12 months.
Some of you may be thinking that those retailers are hurting because of the growth of the online retail industry.
But online retailers are going belly up too. For example, Zulily just announced that it will be permanently going out of business…
Online retailer Zulily is shutting down.
The company announced on its website it has made the “difficult but necessary decision to conduct an orderly wind-down of the business.”
Zulily said it will “strive to continue to provide everyone with the best service possible during the holiday season” and it will try to fulfill all pending orders and ensure that orders that could not be filled are canceled and refunded.
Of course the mainstream media will continue to insist that these are just isolated incidents and that the overall economy is doing just fine.
One of the primary reasons why they try to slant economic news in such a positive direction is because most of them are Democrats…
A new study from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications found that just 3.4% of American journalists are Republicans.
The study is based “on an online survey with 1,600 U.S. journalists conducted in early 2022” and is the latest in a series of studies stretching back to 1971 that take the temperature of the fourth estate’s partisan lean, job satisfaction, and professional attitudes.
When the first iteration of the study came out over 50 years ago, 35.5% of respondents said they were Democrats, 25.7% said they were Republicans, and 32.5% said they were Independents.
Since a Democrat is currently in the White House, they want you to feel good about the economy so that you will vote for Democrats in 2024.
But everyone can see that the economy is coming apart at the seams all around us, and most Americans do not have a good feeling about what is coming during the year ahead.
I am entirely convinced that the economic trends that we have witnessed in 2023 will greatly accelerate in 2024.
Needless to say, that will not be good news at all.