Coming back to Chicago after a year was a journey to a land of palpable uncertainty. America and its entrepreneurial citizens are struggling to get their heads round a slew of negative indicators about the performance of their world powerhouse economy.
News was breaking that requests for building permits, a vital indicator of the health of the savagely depressed residential real estate market, had fallen by 3% in July. This offset a slight improvement in manufacturing, but the real bad news is that this is rapidly turning into a jobless recovery, if indeed it is a recovery at all. American firms cut their payrolls by 131,000 in July, the second successive monthly fall. At the same time, there are fears of inflation as wholesale prices for food, cars and other core producer prices rose for the ninth month in a row. [CONTINUES]
In today's bulletin
Ad market bouncing back, says WPP's Sorrell
HP squares up to Dell over £1bn data biz acquisition
Persimmon beats Bovis to divvy, but mortgage woes continue
Campbell's souper bid for UB takes the biscuit
A Traveller's Tale: The view from Chicago suddenly turns bleak