Of course, the ever-present numbers game that is the stock market is a kind of barometer, and the Associated Press highlights the down day on Wall Street.
Just when Wall Street seemed to have settled down, a barrage of bad economic reports collided with fresh worries about European banks Thursday and triggered a global sell-off in stocks.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 419 points — a return to the wild swings that gripped the stock market last week.
Stocks were only part of a dramatic day across the financial markets. The price of oil fell more than $5, gold set another record, the government's 10-year Treasury note hit its lowest yield, and the average mortgage rate fell to its lowest in at least 40 years.Perhaps the take-away video from NBC News comes from Atlanta, where a jobs fair attracted so many people that the lines to get in went around the building for hours. Some of those people were optimistic, others angry as they sought a desperately needed job. And the Telegraph adds that more people who follow the economy are talking about America falling into another recession.
In a fresh blitz of weak data, economists were particularly shaken after a survey of confidence among manufacturers around the eastern city of Philadelphia collapsed to its lowest level since 2009.
The main index tumbled to minus 30.7 this month – against forecasts of a reading of plus 3.7 – its weakest since the US was still mired in its last recession during the first quarter of 2009, compared with a reading of plus 3.2 in July.
Manufacturing has been a rare bright spot for the US over the last two years, but the news from Philadelphia suggests that industry is suffering as consumers retrench.
However, Bloomberg News reports that any talk about recession is unnecessary.While today's survey is a regional one, the index is closely watched for clues as to how the rest of the world's largest economy is performing.
The talk of recession might be debatable, but there is no doubt that politicians and economists are looking for solutions for both the short and long term.