I ran across the “Distress Index” today. It’s put out by the Foundation for Economic Education, an outfit I’ve never heard of before. They even have a nice chart showing how their index has performed over time. I’m not a fan of indices. (Indices is preferred over indexes. Indexes proper usage is as a verb,… Read more

The United States government reported that real Gross Domestic Product increased at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter. Improvements in Consumer Durables consumption, up 22.3 percent, and Residential Fixed Investment, up 23.4 percent, were the key components driving the increase. Both of these gains were in turn driven by… Read more

This recession and its accompanying financial crises started with large financial institutions making headlines with bad loans, liquidity problems, and in many cases insolvency. The driving factors at that point were the toxic residential-real-estate-based securities filtering their way through the financial system. Many large financial institutions were highly exposed to securitized packages of residential mortgages… Read more

Reuters has a release of new housing data. Seems sales fell in September and Augusts’ numbers were revised down. I’m amazed at the writer’s confidence that we are in “widening recovery.” The money quotes are “The housing data represented a road bump in a recovery that otherwise appears to be widening.” & “With some lingering… Read more

A couple of months ago, on a flight from Los Angeles to New York, I had the opportunity to sit next to an impressive young woman from New Zealand, and we had the type of conversations that occur on long flights. New Zealand was too small for her, and opportunity was limited. So, right after… Read more

I was reviewing new data from DataQuick Information Systems. There were 111,689 California Notices of Default (NODs) during the third quarter. While this is down from 124,562 in the second quarter, it is still an enormous number, see the chart below. Foreclosures rose from 45,667 to 50,013. There is massive heterogeneity across the state with… Read more

California’s jobs report, released Friday the 16th, showed that the California economy is still bumping along the bottom of a serious recession.  The various indicators, for the month of September, show only slight improvements over August.  There was a slight improvement in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from 12.3 percent to 12.2 percent.  There was… Read more

The Economic news is mostly negative today with Consumer Confidence dropping below the consensus forecast. MGIC, the nation’s third largest mortgage insurer, posted a third quarter $518 million loss after a record number of homeowners failed to meet their mortgage payments. Bank of America posted a $2.2 billion loss, although $400 million of that was… Read more

United States third quarter foreclosure rates rose substantially, 23 percent higher than last year, according to RealtyTrac Inc. Almost a million homes received a default, auction notice, or were repossessed by banks in 2009 quarter 3. About one in every 136 U.S. households received a filing, the highest since January 2005. Analysis by the Amherst… Read more

By my count, and I could be wrong, 36 Oregon economist signed a letter supporting the Legislature’s tax increases in response to the State’s budget problem. These are the key paragraphs: “ Cutting state spending reduces in-state aggregate demand, virtually dollar-for-dollar. Some forms of state spending, particularly in the area of health care, bring matching… Read more