Fed: Everything is Terrible

For some reason Neil Irwin’s eye-popping writeup of the latest “beige book” findings from the Federal Reserve seems to have gotten a bit buried on the Washington Post web site. But this is a big deal:

The U.S. recession is dragging down almost every industry in almost every part of the country and businesses do not expect conditions to improve until late this year at the earliest, according to a Federal Reserve report released yesterday.

That’s a yikes. The exception to the general trend toward total catastrophe is that pharmaceuticals and discount retail chains are doing well. And discount retail chains doing well isn’t really a counterpoint to yikes.