Learning about the economy is not required to learn about investing but it helps to get the basics. One of those basics is that it is not easy to know what is actually going on today, or to predict what will happen in the future (other than the fairly accurate “close to what it was last year”). So when reading about the economy you have to accept that there often is plenty of room in the data to allow for differing opinions. Here is one opinion: Cracks widen in U.S. economy:
The weakness in manufacturing started with autos, was compounded by housing, and recently has spread to big-ticket capital goods such as technology and telecommunications equipment, Mr. Jester said. In addition, a broad array of manufacturers are cutting back because of an unexpected buildup of inventories this fall that has to be worked off, he said.