The general US economy is on the back side of the business cycle. This means weakening economic conditions, generally confusing news articles, and speculation about what it means for consumers, businesses, politicians, and retirees. It is important to note that not everything is going down; some industries are relatively acyclical or seem to be countercyclical. However, overall, we are seeing broad-based weakness encompassing leading parts of the economy (housing), coincident measures (GDP and US Total Industrial Production), and lagging segments (nonresidential new construction). The rest of the world is in more or less the same situation.