China's factories lurched into 2014 at a reduced speed, with manufacturing activity falling to a six-month low.HSBC said that its "flash" measure of sentiment among manufacturing purchasing managers fell to 49.6 in January from 50.5 in December.January's reading raises a red flag, as any number under 50 indicates a deceleration in the manufacturing sector. If factory activity continues to lag in the coming months, it could be ominous for China's economy and pose an even greater challenge for the government's plans to enforce economic reforms.Experts believe reforms are necessary to sustain the world's second-largest economy, especially as China seeks more stable expansion following decades of ballooning growth. http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/22/news/economy/china-pmi/
They're almost a kind of colonial interest for the West, if only for manufacture exports to the parent empire. The article is like the canary in the coal mine which isn't about the canary but the life support conditions in the mine itself. The West placed less purchase orders with Chinese manufacture than expected. Combined with the scary real unemployment numbers and stock and bond market anemia for so many years now, the puzzle assembled thus far doesn't look promising.
In a first, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps — a switch from a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.Some of the change is due to demographics, such as the trend toward having fewer children. But a slow economic recovery with high unemployment, stagnant wages and an increasing gulf between low-wage and high-skill jobs also plays a big role. It suggests that government spending on the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program — twice what it cost five years ago — may not subside significantly anytime soon.http://www.newsmax.com/US/US-Food-Stamps-Income/2014/01/27/id/549138