18-Month Recession ‘Over’ But 18-Month Foreclosure Tradition Rolls On
With all due respect to the Nobel Prize winners and noted economists who serve and have served on the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), to a lot of people these days, it just doesn’t feel like the recession is over, no matter what the latest economic data says.
The NBER came out last week to declare that the nation’s latest recession ended June 2009, a long 18 months after it began in December 2007, making it the longest recession post-World War II in the nation’s history. Previously, the recessions of 1973 to 1975 and 1981 to 1982 shared the title of the longest recessions, both measuring 16 months, according to NBER.
Being an election year, it’s going to be tough convincing the average American voter that their lifestyles have been better off since the start of the second half of 2009.
Let’s look at the facts:
Unemployment is still very high. Nationally, unemployment moved up slightly to 9.6 percent in August, little comfort to the millions of ready and willing citizens who can’t find work.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Sept. 21 that 27 states registered over-the-month increases in unemployment rates during August 2010, 13 states reported decreases in those rates, while rates in 10 states — plus the District of Columbia — remained unchanged.
MSNBC reported last week that the latest results of the Adversity Index produced by Moody’s Analytics showed that Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, Rhode Island, Georgia, Mississippi, Illinois and New Mexico were still feeling the pain of recession as late as July 2010.
And let’s not forget that during 2009, when the recession “ended”, the Census Bureau reported that the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line was at a 15-year high, The New York Times reported.
Last, but certainly not least, because it is affected by all the above, is the nation’s foreclosure activity. As RealtyTrac reported in September, the sheer number of foreclosure filings around the country exceeded 300,000 again in August. It was the 18th consecutive month total foreclosure filings has topped the 300,000 mark nationally. In fact, the nation is on track to easily surpass 3 million total foreclosure filings for all of 2010, setting a new yearly record.
Nevada, Georgia and Illinois, three of those states that were still feeling the pain of recession as late as July, according to Moody’s Analytics, are still top vote getters when it comes to having nation-leading foreclosure activity and rates as well.
We don’t know what kind of tea leaves the economists are sipping over at NBER, but maybe they ought to switch to plain black coffee and wake up to the economic reality that so many American homeowners, and voters, are living in.