Economists are surprised by the strangest things.

The UK has announced austerity measures, Greece, Spain, Portugal (3 little PIIGS) are in forced austerity programs, and Germany is paying more attention to deficit reduction than growth (rightfully so), yet somehow economists expect factory orders in Germany to keep improving.

Please consider the Bloomberg report German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Fell in May

German factory orders unexpectedly fell for the first time in five months in May as demand for goods made in Europe’s largest economy waned across the 16- nation euro region.

Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, declined 0.5 percent from April, when they rose a revised 3.2 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent gain for May, according to the median of 30 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. From a year earlier, orders increased 24.8 percent.

Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has pushed the euro down 17 percent against the dollar since late November, making exports to countries outside the currency bloc more competitive just as the global recovery gathered pace. With governments cutting spending to convince investors that budget deficits are under control, growth in the euro area, Germany’s biggest export market, may slow.

“You have to see today’s decline in orders in the context of strong increases in the previous months,” said Klaus Schruefer, an economist at SEB Bank AG in Frankfurt. “It doesn’t throw the German economy off its recovery track.”

Recovery Off The Rails

While it is true that any month can be an outlier, the European macro picture is anemic in light of austerity programs virtually everywhere you look.

Moreover, the Asia picture is anemic, the US macro picture is anemic, and indeed the entire global macro picture is anemic. Yet economists, an ever optimistic lot, still have faith in a recovery 100% based on unsustainable government spending even though governments in general are cutting government spending in an attempt to reduce budget deficits.

For now, the US is an exception to global budget tightening. However, it should be perfectly clear that Congress is taking a harder stance towards more stimulus efforts as a measure to extend unemployment benefits has died in the US senate.

Talk of continued recovery is nonsense. The best anyone can possibly hope for is an economic flatline and that will not create any jobs.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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