Key gauges of manufacturing activity in three major economies -- the eurozone, China, and Japan -- have, for six months or more, been below the levels that prevailed at the start of the 2007 recession. While the U.S. counterpart remains modestly above where it was four years ago, it has recently faltered, hitting it's lowest level in three months.
Taken together, these widely-regarded indicators suggest that the path of least resistance for the global economy is down.
While it is nice to imagine that the "data" points to what some have described as a self-sustaining recovery, these (and other) facts say otherwise.
And for those who would argue that the U.S. can grow stronger stronger while the rest of the world weakens, I suggest they do a bit of research on that oft-repeated-but-still-untrue urban legend known as "decoupling."