Tags: wiedemer | economy | slow | growth

Economist Wiedemer: US, Global Economy to See 'Very Slow' Growth

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Friday, 10 Jan 2014 05:31 PM

Noted economist Robert Wiedemer says the nation's financial future reveals a split personality of soaring profits and continued employment woes.

"It is two different worlds. One is an asset price bubble, stocks are going up, real estate's going up, and that actually should encourage people to spend more, buy more, boost the economy," Wiedemer told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"It's amazing we're having this kind of job problem when you have had such a good market and such a good real estate market. It's obviously very, very out of touch with each other.''

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Wiedemer, author of "Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Meltdown," made his comments after the release of a federal jobs report Friday revealing that in December, employers added only 74,000 jobs, the slowest growth in three years.

He says the booming stock market won't last forever — and only as long as the Fed continues to pour newly minted cash into the economy.

"Clearly the stock market is often a fantasy world and ultimately that's going to change," he said.

"I don't really reconcile it other than the Fed is printing a lot of money and that's boosting up asset prices, but clearly not helping the economy, anything like what they had hoped."

Wiedemer, managing director of Absolute Investment Management, a macro-focused money management firm, called new Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen "Miss Money Printer — even more so than [Ben] Bernanke.

"We're still printing $900 billion a year. Yes, that's down from $1 trillion, but $900 billion is more than our entire money supply in 2007," Wiedemer said.

As far as an ongoing economic rebound that has been predicted — don't count on it, according to Wiedemer.

"I don't think that we're getting a rebound that people are talking about. We saw bad retail sales over Christmas. In fact, it was the first Black Friday weekend that we had no sales growth ... actually, a decline from the previous year, and that's in the last seven years," he said.

"Even during the recessions, Black Friday grew. And to the jobs numbers, [that's] a telling sign. Healthcare jobs, which have been rock solid, have been growing for years, [but] we actually lost 1,000 healthcare jobs last month.

"So the economy is going to continue to be very slow in its growth, 2 percent, max, and again, that's assuming the inflation adjustments are correct."

The global economy isn't going to flourish, either, Wiedemer says.

"The rest of the world's not doing very well … Japan is slow, Europe's slow, England, all of those countries are slow growth," he said.

"Yes, they may have their ups and downs, but, fundamentally, it's a very, very slow world economy and that's reflected in the fact that, fundamentally, our jobs are not growing.

"The good jobs are certainly not growing. So I don't see much growth in the U.S. economy. Perhaps the market can push up a little higher, but we're stretching it more and more and it's getting more and more dangerous."

Wiedemer believes stocks are still a lucrative investment for the individual investor.

"The only investment that really performed well last year … were stocks. Bonds did poorly, commodities didn't do too well with the exception of natural gas, which was the big winner … but for most normal investing, stocks worked," he said.

"And I'm not saying they probably won't be a good place to be in 2014. They could work again. Maybe not as well, but with lots of printing … stocks would do OK, even some high dividend stocks."

But the longer term prognosis for the economy — five to 10 years — is troublesome, Wiedemer says.

"That's where the real problem comes. Probably not as much over the next six to 12 months. I'm not saying it couldn't be bumpy, but as long as they're printing as much as they are, that's certainly going to keep things up for a little while longer," he said.

"Reality has to hit … then I'd be very worried about being locked in stocks."

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