For a long time I noted that when the tear gas appeared we will have entered a new level of the contraction. That occurred last year. Check. With the recent events in Oakland by the Occupy Movement, I believe we've entered the next "tick down" with protestors causing destruction of property.
"Officials surveyed damage Sunday from a volatile Occupy protest that resulted in hundreds of arrests the day before and left the historic City Hall vandalized after demonstrators broke into the building, smashed display cases, cut electrical wires and burned an American flag. Police placed the number of arrests at about 400 from Saturday's daylong protest — the most contentious since authorities dismantled the Occupy Oakland encampment late last year."
Source: The Chicago Tribune