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  • Wed, Sep 8 2010
  • 6:02 PM » SA-131-2010: Suspicious Telephone Calls Claiming to Be From the FDIC
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 6:02 PM by
    Special Alert SA-131-2010 September 8, 2010 TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (also of interest to Security Officer) SUBJECT: Suspicious Telephone Calls Claiming to Be From the FDIC Summary: Suspicious telephone calls claiming to be from FDIC employees are being reported. These calls appear to be illegal schemes to steal money or collect sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of suspicious telephone calls where the caller claims to represent the FDIC and is calling regarding the collection of an outstanding debt. To date, the callers have alleged that the call recipient is delinquent in payment of a loan that was applied for over the Internet or made through a payday lender. The loan may or may not actually exist. The caller attempts to authenticate the claim by providing sensitive personal information, such as name, Social Security number, and date of birth, supposedly taken from the loan application. The recipient is then strongly urged to make a payment over the phone to "avoid a lawsuit and possible arrest." In some instances, the caller is said to sound aggressive and threatening. These suspicious telephone calls are fraudulent. Recipients should consider them as an attempt to steal money or collect personal identifying information. The FDIC generally does not initiate unsolicited telephone calls to consumers and is not involved with the collection of debts on behalf of operating lenders and financial institutions. If a caller demonstrates that he or she has the recipient's sensitive personal information, such as Social Security number, date of birth, and bank account numbers, the recipient may be the victim of identity theft and should review his or her credit reports for signs of possible fraud. The individual should also consider placing a "fraud alert" on his or her credit reports. This can be done by contacting one of the three consumer reporting...
  • 6:02 PM » Builders Brief Land Buying Spree Gets Grounded
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 6:02 PM by Google News
    The days of frenzied land deals that we saw earlier in the year are over.
  • 2:55 PM » Hedge Funds Can’t Always Save Home Builders
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 2:55 PM by Google News
    Dozens of home builders gone under. Some of them have turned to private capital for a way out, but hedge funds can’t always be saviors.
  • 12:01 PM » Economists further scale back U.S. growth outlook
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 12:01 PM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stubbornly high unemployment and signs of persistent weakness in the housing market have prompted economists to further cut their outlook for U.S. growth in the second half of the year, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.
  • 12:01 PM » Fed's Treasury Buying Poses Serious Risks: Mishkin
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 12:01 PM by CNBC
    Fed's Treasury Buying Poses Serious Risks: Mishkin
  • 12:01 PM » The Bears and the State of the Housing Market
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 12:01 PM by CNBC
    The Bears and the State of the Housing Market
  • 11:45 AM » BLS: Job Openings increases in July, Low Labor Turnover
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 11:45 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Note: The temporary decennial Census hiring and layoffs has distorted this series over the last few months. The total separations has increased, but that includes the temporary Census workers that were let go. From the BLS: There were 3.0 million job openings on the last business day of July 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The job openings rate increased over the month to 2.3 percent. The hires rate (3.3 percent) and the separations rate (3.4 percent) were unchanged.... Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. The CES (Current Employment Statistics, payroll survey) is for positions, the CPS (Current Population Survey, commonly called the household survey) is for people. The following graph shows job openings (purple), hires (blue), Total separations (include layoffs, discharges and quits) (red) and Layoff, Discharges and other (yellow) from the JOLTS. Unfortunately this is a new series and only started in December 2000. Click on graph for larger image in new window. Notice that hires (blue) and separations (red) are pretty close each month. In July, about 4.4 million people lost (or left) their jobs, and 4.23 million were hired (this is the labor turnover in the economy) for a loss of 168,000 jobs in July (this includes Census jobs lost). The employment report (revised) showed a loss of only 54,000 jobs in July, and usually these numbers are pretty close, so this is a little puzzling. I expect some revisions to one or both reports. When the hires (blue line) is above total separations, the economy is adding net jobs, when the blue line is below total separations (as in July), the economy is losing net jobs. It appears job openings are still trending up, however labor turnover is still fairly low.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 11:45 AM » The Fed and Treasury Volatility
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 11:45 AM by The Big Picture
    David R. Kotok Chairman and Chief Investment Officer The Fed and Treasury Volatility September 8, 2010 > Stewart Taylor runs a specialized fund for Eaton Vance. He has seriously studied volatility in US Treasury securities for decades. He also joins the annual August gathering at Leen’s Lodge and came back for a long Labor Day weekend. We talked. We dissected market’s response to the Fed’s post-Lehman balance-sheet moves. First, we saw an explosion of new programs. That morphed into the $1.25 trillion in Fannie and Freddie holdings, which took the Fed’s balance sheet to about $2.4 trillion. Now the Fed is receiving the payments on those mortgages and is redeploying the cash flows into treasuries. Stew and I exchanged many questions. A glass of wine on the veranda at Leen’s as the sunsets unfold allows for serious conversation in a relaxed setting. Some friendly smallmouth bass set the stage earlier in the day. How can we estimate the impact of the Fed’s $1.25 trillion in purchases of mortgages? What are the security price effects of the transition from mortgages to treasuries as the Fed maintains the size of the balance sheet? How do we deal with the conflicting factors like flight to quality in treasuries or worries about the financing of the deficits? Is there any way to have a segregated and isolated test on treasury yields? So many competing factors influence them. BCA Research has tried to quantify these issues. In a recent report they offered that “each $100 billion purchase of agency or MBS securities — or sale of Treasury securities — causes a narrowing in MBS spread of about 8 basis points.” The spread between mortgage rates and treasury yields was narrowest coincident with the ending of the Fed’s mortgage purchase program. The spread has been widening since. BCA notes that the widening spreads have “offset the rally in Treasury yields.” In other words, the Fed lowered Treasury yields but caused the mortgage yields to rise when it stopped supporting that...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 7:42 AM » Housing Starts and Vacant Units
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 7:42 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    The following graph shows total housing starts and the percent vacant housing units (owner and rental) in the U.S. Note: this is a combined vacancy rate based on the Census Bureau vacancy rates for owner occupied and rental housing through Q2 2010. Click on graph for larger image in new window. The vacancy rate continued to climb even after housing starts fell off a cliff. Initially this was because of a significant number of completions. Then some hidden inventory (like some 2nd homes) probably became available for sale or for rent, and also some households have doubled up because of tough economic times. It appears the total vacancy rate might have peaked and started to decline. This suggests more households are now being formed than net housing units added to the housing stock. But there is still a long way to go. I know I'm a broken record - but it is very unlikely that there will be a strong rebound in housing starts with a near record number of .
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 7:41 AM » NYT: The Housing Bear Case
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 7:41 AM by The Big Picture
    Today’s NYT has a column by David Leonhardt, titled (I’m referenced but not quoted directly). Leonhardt offers a new(ish) framework to evaluate Housing, regardless of whether you “lean bearish or less bearish.” The column’s framework asks if housing is a luxury good – one “that societies spend more on it as they get richer?” Or is it an essential necessity — more like food and clothing — that seems to cost an “ever smaller share of consumer spending over time?” It is an interesting way to look at Housing. I am not fully convinced this is the proper framework, but I wanted to point out a few elements worth considering, and clarify others. First, we must note that Housing can be a variety of things: Shelter, or an investment, a basic staple, or a luxury item. A $100k rural ranch has very different characteristics than a $750,000 suburban manse or a $2 million townhouse. When we discuss housing, we must remember that it is not only local, but very specific to each unique property. (This was part of the problem with the securitization of mortgages — it is very difficult to homogenize US housing, and the attempt failed in part for that reasons). The bottom line is we need to be cautious in generalizing housing — all houses are not all things to all people. Second, I do not see Housing as 30% over-valued by my favorite metrics. (The article implies that number from Case Shiller data). It might yet fall that much as we mean revert, careening wildly past fair value — but that is not my expectation. An overvaluation of 5-15% has been my number since Q1 2010, and we don’t even have to drop that much — we could simply go sideways for a decade (or longer) and allow inflation to work off the excess. Third, let’s remind readers why I believe the . It was not merely tax breaks and falling interest rates, but a massive bond bull market . Mortgage rates did not simply fall, they were driven down by two/thirds, from over 15% down to under 5%. With Fed rates now at zero, this simply cannot...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 7:40 AM » What Salary Buys Happiness in Your City?
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 7:40 AM by WSJ
    A new study that shows income after a worker earns $75,000 the measurable effect on happiness of pay increases stops has gained a lot of attention, but that figure may vary widely from city to city.
  • 7:39 AM » Obama Against a Compromise on Extension of Bush Tax Cuts
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 7:39 AM by NY Times
    The president’s decision not to extend tax cuts for the rich adds a populist twist to an election-season economic package designed to entice support from big businesses and their Republican allies.
  • 7:38 AM » Mortgage Rates and Home Prices
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 7:38 AM by
    It's hard to see a strong relationship over the last three decades.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 7:37 AM » Trend in Temp Hiring Doesn't Bode Well for Overall Jobs Picture
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 7:37 AM by
    Temporary help services may have had some of the strongest job growth of any industry in August, but the employment increase still pales in comparison to job growth in the sector earlier this year.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 7:37 AM » Home Buyer Tax Credit Price Tag: $22 Billion
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 7:37 AM by Google News
    The total estimated cost of the home buyer tax credits is about $22 billion, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office last week.
  • 7:37 AM » Housing Inventories Rise for Eighth Straight Month
    Published Wed, Sep 08 2010 7:37 AM by Google News
    Housing inventories rose in many U.S. cities for the eighth straight month in August in a sign of the continued headwinds facing a soft housing market.
  • Tue, Sep 7 2010
  • 1:34 PM » Housing Completions will set new record low in 2010
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 1:34 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    One of the key questions for housing, jobs, and the economy is: When will the excess housing supply be absorbed? The answers depends on: 1) The current number of excess housing units, 2) how many net units are added to the housing stock, and 3) how many net households are being formed. There is no timely data for net household formation, and estimates of the excess housing supply vary widely. So the answer involves some guesses (I'll get back to these questions). The best data is for completions of housing units - although the number of demolitions is unclear. So the limited purpose of this post to to provide an estimate of the net units added to the housing stock in 2010 . Housing units include single family homes (included as 1 to 4 units), apartments (5+ units), and mobile homes. Demolitions are subtracted from the stock. NOTE: Table is based on Completions. Housing units added to stock: 2009 2010 1 1 to 4 units 534.7 480 5+ units 259.8 135 Mobile Homes 52.2 55 Sub-Total 846.7 670.0 Demolitions 2 200 200 Total 646.7 470.0 1 Estimates for 2010 based on completions through July. 2 estimated. Notice for 2010 that the estimate is for 5+ unit completions to collapse. This is already in the works as shown in the following diagram: Click on graph for larger image in new window. The blue line is for multifamily starts and the red line is for multifamily completions. Probably all the multifamily units that will be delivered in 2010 have already been started since, , it takes on average over 1 year to complete these projects. Since multifamily starts collapsed in 2009, completions will collapse in 2010. This finally showed up in the data for July as completions fell to 8.1 thousand from 17.1 thousand in June. Completions averaged over 14 thousand per month during the first 6 months of 2010, and will average close to 8 thousand per month during the 2nd half of 2010. Note: this decline in completions will impact construction employment in the 2nd half. Similar logic applies...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 1:34 PM » Index Points to Slowdown in Hiring
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 1:34 PM by WSJ
    An August measure of labor indicators by the Conference Board suggests a slowing in hiring in coming months. Seven out of the eight components had a negative impact last month.
  • 1:34 PM » Real Estate News: Good News About Rising Mortgage Rates
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 1:34 PM by Google News
    Here is a look at real-estate news in today's WSJ:
  • 1:34 PM » Krueger Op-Ed: ‘Measure Succeeds in Promoting Private-Sector Hiring’
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 1:34 PM by US Treasury
    To view or print the PDF content on this page, download the free . September 6, 2010 TG-845 Krueger Op-Ed: ‘Measure Succeeds in Promoting Private-Sector Hiring’ WASHINGTON – In an op-ed piece for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Treasury Chief Economist and Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Alan Krueger writes about the impact of the HIRE Act on private-sector hiring and the continued economic recovery. To read the op-ed piece online, see link below. The full text of the piece follows. The Treasury Department today also released an updated report on the number of newly hired workers who are eligible for tax credits under the HIRE Act. Nationally, from February 2010 to July 2010, businesses have hired an estimated 6.9 million new workers who had been unemployed for eight weeks or longer, making those businesses eligible to receive billions in HIRE Act tax credits. The updated report also contains state-by-state estimates and regional breakdowns by industry of hiring of eligible workers. The full report can be viewed at the link below. Measure succeeds in promoting private-sector hiring By Alan B. Krueger Labor Day is an occasion to honor and celebrate American workers. The opportunity to work in a decent job gives people and society benefits beyond the income it generates. Conversely, unemployment causes workers and their families distress beyond their loss of income. Job growth was weak throughout the 2000s, and the past few years unquestionably have been difficult for American workers, as the financial crisis and subsequent recession destroyed jobs at an alarming rate. When President Barack Obama took office, the country was losing 750,000 jobs a month, and more than 7.5 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in late 2007. Although the economy has started to recover and layoffs have declined from their peak, hiring remains too slow to provide enough jobs for the growing workforce. Since day one, the Obama administration's top priority has...
  • 1:34 PM » A reward for responsible homeowners
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 1:34 PM by CNN
    The government has bailed out Wall Street firms, giant banks, creditors of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- and is trying to bail out people who've defaulted or are about to default on their mortgages. But let's say you're a hardworking family that has done nothing wrong except buy a home when the housing bubble was at its peak a few years ago. Your mortgage is now way underwater, but you're still making payments because you want to stay in your home -- and you're actually honorable. You're paying for everyone else's bailout, but because you have no equity in your house, you can't refinance to take advantage of the ultra-low mortgage rates that Uncle Sam's bailout strategy has produced. To use the technical term, you're being screwed.
  • 1:34 PM » Give Home Owners Tips to Fight Foreclosure
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 1:34 PM by Google News
    Help home owners be among those who stop foreclosure it in its tracks.
  • 1:34 PM » Sellers Aren't Cutting Prices
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 1:34 PM by Google News
    According to, the number of sellers on the site who reduced their prices remained the same in August as July.
  • 11:45 AM » Stress Tests Missed Debt at EU Lenders
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 11:45 AM by WSJ
    Europe's recent "stress tests" of the strength of major banks understated some lenders' holdings of potentially risky government debt, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows.
  • 11:45 AM » Citi under fire over deferred tax assets
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 11:45 AM by
    Citigroup is at the centre of a dispute among analysts and accounting experts over whether it should set aside funds to cover $50bn of deferred taxes, a move that would reduce its capital buffer and weaken its balance sheet
  • 11:45 AM » Euro Slides Amid Concern Over Banks’ Finances; Aussie Drops
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 11:45 AM by Business Week
    The euro slid the most in more than two weeks against the dollar on concern that European banks’ holdings of government debt will hinder their fiscal health, undermining prospects for economic growth in the region.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 9:39 AM » Secondary Sources: Rural Stimulus, Housing, Liability and Risk
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 9:39 AM by WSJ
    A roundup of economic news from around the Web.
  • 8:36 AM » The FHA’s ‘Short Refinance’ Program: Frequently Asked Questions
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 8:36 AM by Google News
    Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the FHA's 'Short Refinance' program.
  • 8:36 AM » In struggling housing market, buyers and sellers are out of sync
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 8:36 AM by Washington Post
    Jack Donnelly put off selling his Capitol Hill rowhouse for three years until he thought he saw glimmers of life in the housing market this past spring. At $950,000, he said, the red brick Victorian is a "solid deal." - - - -
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 8:36 AM » The FHA's New Minimum Credit Score Requirement Won't Change Much
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 8:36 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: The FHA is introducing new guidelines on loan to value ratios and the minimum credit score required for FHA borrowers. As detailed in a Mortgagee Letter from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the following credit requirements will apply for FHA borrowers, effective October 4, 2010. To be eligible for maximum financing, borrowers will need a minimum credit score of 580 or higher. Borrowers with a credit score between 500 and 579 will be limited to a loan to value of 90%. A sub 580 FICO credit score borrower will henceforth need to make a 10% minimum down payment on a purchase transaction. All borrowers with a credit score below 500 will not be eligible for FHA-insured mortgage financing. HUD’s newly introduced minimum credit score and loan to value requirements will apply to all single family loan programs, except for Reverse Mortgages (Home Equity Conversion Mortgages) and Hope for Homeowners.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:36 AM » Analysis: Underwater mortgages are the real problem in housing
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 8:36 AM by
    It doesn't make sense for the U.S. --
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:36 AM » As Pay Falls, Borrowers Lose Ground
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 8:36 AM by
    One in eight homeowners had household debt exceeding half the monthly income in 2008, a recent report says.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:36 AM » The Housing Markets and GSE Reform Efforts
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 8:36 AM by
    This article was originally published in the September 2010 issue of Asset Securitization Report ( While the Wall Street reform bill passed this summer did not directly address the GSEs, it nonetheless affected future prospects for restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As I wrote last month, the bill created a series of impediments to any timely revival of the private-label MBS market, making the housing markets highly dependent on agency-backed funding. As a result, GSE reform will be limited by the need to avoid short-term disruptions that would freeze financing for the housing markets.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:20 AM » House Prices and Stress Tests
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 8:20 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    The following graph shows the two bank stress test scenarios compared to the Case-Shiller Composite 10 Index. Click on graph for larger image in new window. The heavy government support for house prices has kept prices well above the baseline scenario. But is this good news? With prices higher than projected, banks have taken fewer write downs than originally expected - and many homeowners have been able to refinance into Fannie and Freddie (or FHA insured) loans putting the future risk on the taxpayer. This is good news for the banks. However, since prices are still too high in many areas, the market has not cleared and there is still too much inventory. Until the excess inventory is absorbed, there will be little new construction and few construction related jobs - and the recovery will remain sluggish.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:20 AM » More stories on the long term unemployed
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 8:20 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Alana Semuels at the LA Times: . A few excerpts: The U.S. safety net wasn't designed to withstand such a strain. The extent and duration of unemployment benefits vary by state, but 26 weeks is typical. Several federal extensions have increased that to 99 weeks in California and other hard-hit states. Even so, an estimated 3.5 million Americans will have run out of benefits by the end of the year. About 180,000 Californians have already fallen off the rolls. There are few other places to turn. Applications for federal food stamps and state programs such as CalWorks, which provides temporary assistance to families with children, are up sharply in recent years. ... Desperation is growing, said Ofer Sharone, an assistant professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management who has spent the last year interviewing dozens of long-term jobless workers. "The U.S. is clearly not equipped to deal with this high level of unemployment," Sharone said. "People are running out of benefits, health insurance, retirement and pensions." This article has several stories about people struggling with long term unemployment. This brings up two key points: What will happen to the '99ers? According to Semuels, 3.5 million Americans will run out of benefits by the end of the year. No jobs and no benefits means fewer households and more vacant housing units - not exactly what we need. Job creation will pick up when the excess supply of housing units, and the over capacity in many other sectors, is finally absorbed. That will happen eventually as the population grows and households are formed.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:20 AM » Visual Guide to Deflation
    Published Tue, Sep 07 2010 8:20 AM by The Big Picture
    This is from April 2009, but in light of recent data points, I thought it was worth revisiting: > Source: Jess Bachman via
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • Fri, Sep 3 2010
  • 4:00 PM » New FHA Mortgagee Letter: Minimum Credit Scores and Loan-to-Value Ratios
    Published Fri, Sep 03 2010 4:00 PM by
    This Mortgagee Letter introduces new minimum credit scores and loan-to-value (LTV) ratio requirements for FHA-insured loans.This guidance is effective for case numbers assigned on or after October 4, 2010.
  • 3:59 PM » August Employment Report: 60K Jobs ex-Census, 9.6% Unemployment Rate
    Published Fri, Sep 03 2010 3:59 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From the : Nonfarm payroll employment changed little (-54,000) in August, and the unemployment rate was about unchanged at 9.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Government employment fell, as 114,000 temporary workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector payroll employment continued to trend up modestly (+67,000). Census 2010 decreased 114,000 in August. Non-farm payroll employment increased 60,000 in July ex-Census. Both June and July payroll employment were revised up. "June was revised from -221,000 to -175,000, and the change for July was revised from -131,000 to -54,000." Click on graph for larger image. This graph shows the unemployment rate vs. recessions. Nonfarm payrolls decreased by 54 thousand in August. The economy has gained 229 thousand jobs over the last year, and lost 7.6 million jobs since the recession started in December 2007. The second graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms (as opposed to the number of jobs lost). The dotted line is ex-Census hiring. The two lines have almost joined since the decennial Census hiring is almost over. For the current employment recession, employment peaked in December 2007, and this recession is by far the worst recession since WWII in percentage terms, and 2nd worst in terms of the unemployment rate (only early '80s recession with a peak of 10.8 percent was worse). This is another weak report, however the upwards revisions to June and July were a positive. The participation rate increased slightly - and that is good news - but the unemployment rate also increased. I'll have much more soon ... Update: For more, see:
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 3:58 PM » Employment Diffusion Indices
    Published Fri, Sep 03 2010 3:58 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    A few more comments: Decennial Census layoffs came in close to my (-114,000 actual vs. estimate of -116,000) The seasonally adjusted (SA) teen participation rate increased from 34.6% to 35.2%. This was because so few teens looked for jobs this summer. This was a factor in pushing up the overall participation rate even with a weak job market. The before rounding participation rate (SA) rose from 64.55% in July to 64.73% in August, and the before rounding unemployment rate rose from 9.51% in July to 9.643% in August. It won't take much to push the headline unemployment rate to 9.7%. Click on graph for larger image. The BLS diffusion index for total private employment declined to 53.0 from 56.7 in July. For manufacturing, the diffusion index declined to 47.0 from 53.0 in July, and down sharply from 67.1 in April. Think of this as a measure of how widespread job gains are across industries. The further from 50 (above or below), the more widespread the job losses or gains reported by the BLS. From the : Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment. The increases in the diffusion indices in 2009 and earlier this year, was a clear positives in the monthly employment reports. However the decrease in the diffusion indices over the last few months (falling below 50% for manufacturing in August), is disappointing. Earlier employment posts today (with many graphs):
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 3:57 PM » A Grain of Salt on Thursday’s Pending Sales Report
    Published Fri, Sep 03 2010 3:57 PM by Google News
    Economist David Rosenberg urged a note of caution when reading Thursday's positive pending home sales report.
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