Commentaries

Job declines slow, but unemployment rate jumps

September 4, 2009

The Labor Department’s August report on the jobs market has a bit of a good news/bad news slant to it. Job cuts slowed to “just” 216K, below expectations and better than last month’s 276K (up from the originally reproted 247K). But the unemployment rate, which is calculated through a distinct survey of households rather than businesses, jumped to 9.7% from 9.4% the previous month. You’ll remember that a slide back in July made some hopeful that maybe, just maybe, joblessness has stabilized.

Where the job seekers aren’t

September 3, 2009

Even in weak employment markets, the United States has typically had a trump card to play. The nation’s workers are legendary for their willingness to travel across the country for new opportunities.

The subprime to prime mortgage handoff

August 20, 2009

Data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association confirms the trend that prime borrowers are the ones to worry about.

The government’s foreclosure flop

August 12, 2009

The Obama administration has attacked the problem of rising home foreclosures with a humanitarian zeal. Their program — the most ambitious in generations — was intended to save up to four million people from being thrown out of their homes.

from Neil Unmack:

UK mortgage debt: remain calm! All is well!

August 6, 2009

That's the message given by Moody's today on the resilience of UK mortgage-backed securities to the current downturn. The survey is based on so-called master trusts, a kind of securitization vehicle first applied to U.K. mortgages about a decade ago which quickly became the most efficient way for a large bank to securitize home loans. The master trusts grew so big that they now finance about a fifth of all UK home loans (although a large chunk of this must have been from deals issued by banks after the credit crisis to use as collateral for borrowing with the central banks).

Bubble, bubble toil and trouble

July 29, 2009

NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve seems to be volunteering to be top bubble burster. In a recent speech, Bill Dudley, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, overturned more than a decade of Fed orthodoxy by claiming it was the central bank’s duty to defuse asset price bombs before they detonate.

Reaching a floor in housing

July 27, 2009

– Christopher Swann is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —

L-shaped housing market?

July 16, 2009

Economists seem willing to celebrate even the most tepid economic release these days. The National Association of Homebuilders’ Housing Market Index nudged up slightly to 17 in July, up from 15. Most economists had expected 16, so this is what passes for good news.

Housing bumps along the bottom

June 24, 2009

mcmansion

New home sales data shows that it’s going to be a long slog pulling the U.S. housing market out of the doldrums. Not only was the sales rate at 342K below consensus but the backlog of unsold inventories continues to be a drag. And a weak jobs market certainly isn’t going to help move those homes any faster even with home prices falling.