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carlsbadworker
14 years ago

Is it possible to make a
Is it possible to make a comparison graph for unemployment v.s. housing price? I don’t think anyone disputes that unemployment is a lag indicator comparing to the general economy. However, some people are saying that it is a predictor for the housing market (i.e. housing price only rises when unemployment has declined). Unfortunately, it might be hard to find previous national housing price declines, so what about just for California?

UCGal
14 years ago
Reply to  carlsbadworker

I agree that unemployment is
I agree that unemployment is a lagging indicator for recessions. But given the fact that our economy has gone from being based on production of goods to consumption of goods, this time might be a little different. Even folks who have jobs are clamping down tight on their discretionary spending. Until the unemployment rate at least slows (2nd derivative) I don’t see a turn around in our economy.

jpinpb
14 years ago
Reply to  UCGal

That is a good point. We
That is a good point. We have limited our manufacturing of products. The biggest thing we’ve had as an industry for several years was manufacturing houses. With that sector down, we are back to having to rely on other manufacturing. That takes us back even further to before the dot-com era. With so many jobs outsourced, the climate has changed.

If we are a nation of consumers rather than production, we have to change the criterias accordingly to reflect that. At one time unemployment was a lagging indicator, but since the employment for probably a decade relied heavingly on the housing sector, we should factor in the consequences of that.

carlsbadworker
14 years ago
Reply to  Rich Toscano

Rich Toscano wrote:
As you

[quote=Rich Toscano]
As you can see from the comments below yours, some people DO dispute this. πŸ™‚

As for housing and unemployment, I think calculatedrisk just had some graphs on this last week. The net of it iirc was that home prices don’t start to really bounce back til well after unemployment peaks.
Rich[/quote]

Thanks, Rich. I under-estimated the urge from the fellow piggies to dispute everything.

I just followed your suggestion and took a look at the article by calculatedrisk but I am not satisfied with its conclusion. Basically, they draw their conclusions from 2 data points. And when the third data point does not meet the theory’s expectation (recession in 2001), they threw that out as irrelvent.

I definitely think people are starting to see hallucinated patterns because they are so eager to find patterns in the data points. Why there’re less people on sdr’s side that things have become so subtle lately, therefore it is simply impossible to find patterns (unlike 2 years when the pattern is obvious to anyone with a rational mind).

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

One nit to pick: We have
One nit to pick: We have never experienced an L-shaped recession in modern times.

If we do experience an L-shaped recession, I am pretty confident in saying that this time will be different.

Also, keep in mind that housing prices fell for 5 years after the last recession ended corresponding with a housing bust, so recession ends are generally a poor prediction of housing prices. Unless you’re referring to an expected 5 years more in our SoCal housing bust.

in the 80’s housing bust, housing prices fell for 4 years (in inflation adjusted terms) after the recession. In nominal terms, they were flat, but we were seeing very very strong inflation at the time, something that seems very very unlikely in the present scenario.

Chuck Ponzi

jpinpb
14 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Thanks for mentioning it. I
Thanks for mentioning it. I was getting ready to comment about it. So many people talk about the bottom as if it will be a magical turn-around moment. That bottom can stay with us for some time to come if it is L shaped and there will be no question we’ll be at bottom when it flatlines for a while. What few people talk about is what would be the impetus to make prices rise again.

jpinpb
14 years ago
Reply to  Rich Toscano

LOL. I’m open to believing a
LOL. I’m open to believing a V-shaped recovery if someone tells me what the impetus would be for prices to shoot up again. πŸ™‚

Will we all of a sudden have manufacturing again?
Will so many jobs be created and will also cause incomes to double?
Will banks lend to those w/lemonade stands again?
Will we have discovered some natural resource that everyone in the world wants?
Will we have another sector boom that causes economic expansion along the lines of dot-com and housing?

an
an
14 years ago
Reply to  jpinpb

jpinpb wrote:LOL. I’m open
[quote=jpinpb]LOL. I’m open to believing a V-shaped recovery if someone tells me what the impetus would be for prices to shoot up again. πŸ™‚
[/quote]
Inflation? The Fed kept rates at 0% for quite some time now. That has to cause some kind of inflation. Just look what happened when Greenspan kept rates at 1% for awhile.

jpinpb
14 years ago
Reply to  an

But with inflation, will we
But with inflation, will we have income inflation?

an
an
14 years ago
Reply to  jpinpb

jpinpb wrote:But with
[quote=jpinpb]But with inflation, will we have income inflation?[/quote]
Only time will tell.

peterb
14 years ago
Reply to  an

I believe that unemployment
I believe that unemployment went over 25% in the 1930’s. Some guilds recorded an unemployment rate from 1873 of 4% to about 10% in 1878, I think. I have it somewhere in my records. Both were credit contraction economic events. I dont have any data on Japanese unemployment.

peterb
14 years ago
Reply to  an

If you can get your hands on
If you can get your hands on a CA RE graph from 1960 to today, and then overlay the unemployment graph on it…it becomes very clear that unemployment over 7% keep downward pressure on CA RE prices. And even with rates above 10%. And it’s also using far less forgiving unemployment stats from the pre-Clinton era.

The phrase “It’s different this time” would only be accurate if you were comparing to the correct “time”. If this really looks like a recession from the last 60 years, then it would be different. But not if you compared it to credit contractions of the last 200 years.

Japan has a pretty “L” shaped looking “recovery” from what I can see. Oh, but they’re different. They had a “recovery” while still producing many goods that the world was buying from them.

UCGal
14 years ago
Reply to  Rich Toscano

Rich Toscano wrote:As you
[quote=Rich Toscano]As you note, Japan seems like a good potential source. What was the pattern of their unemployment vis-a-vis economic downturns?

Rich

[/quote]
I did some digging. Japan’s recession was very different than our current one – their unemployment averaged 3.6% for the entire 90’s (the so called “lost decade”.)
[url]http://www.vanityfair.com/online/politics/2009/02/what-was-lost-and-found-in-japans-lost-decade.html[/url]

That said – the official definition of recession as determined by the NBER includes unemployment as one of the factors. It also includes manufacturing production, GDP, etc.

I agree with what Rich said about previous recessions also including belt tightening. I’m old enough to have been in the work force during the recessions the 80’s and 90’s. And I remember my parents worry during the recession of the 70’s.

This isn’t an argument or a dispute of what Rich says- but my opinion is that there isn’t an easy out of this recession. Our economy has to be downsized – which is happening. So much of the reported earnings were either based on consumption paid for by debt, or based on inflated prices of creative derivitives. The financial sector has to write down the “funny” money portion of their portfolios. House prices need to return to a sustainable level. Until the books are adjusted to reflect a less inflated valuation, we’re going to continue to contract. But that’s just an opinion, and I don’t have facts/charts to back it up.

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago
Reply to  Rich Toscano

Quote:Rich wrote:
socalb

[quote]Rich wrote:

socalb wrote:

One nit to pick: We have never experienced an L-shaped recession in modern times.

If we do experience an L-shaped recession, I am pretty confident in saying that this time will be different.

Also, keep in mind that housing prices fell for 5 years after the last recession ended corresponding with a housing bust, so recession ends are generally a poor prediction of housing prices.

I never said otherwise… my point was about economic contraction, not housing prices.

Regarding the L-shaped recession… can you point me at data showing that A) unemployment peaks before the end of the economic contraction in such cases and B) this is likely to be the first L-shaped recession in modern times?

Like I said, I’m open — but I need evidence.

Rich[/quote]

Well commented, Rich.

I don’t disagree with the original assertion, only to point out we don’t have an example to draw from if this is an L-shaped recession; this opinion, I draw from the latest FOMC meeting minutes.

We don’t have a reliable measure of predicting future growth, but even the Federal Reserve has predicted meager growth for at least 2 years and below par for long-term forecasts. This is from the April FOMC meeting minutes:

http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomcminutes20090429ep.htm

With the strong adverse forces that have been acting on the economy likely to abate only slowly, participants generally expected a gradual recovery: All anticipated that unemployment, though declining in coming years, would remain well above its longer-run sustainable rate at the end of 2011; most indicated they expected the economy to take five or six years to converge to a longer-run path characterized by a sustainable rate of output growth and by rates of unemployment and inflation consistent with the Federal Reserve’s dual objectives, but several said full convergence would take longer. Participants projected very low inflation this year; most expected inflation to edge up over the next few years toward the rate they consider consistent with the dual objectives. Most participants–though fewer than in January–viewed the risks to the growth outlook as skewed to the downside. Most participants saw the risks to the inflation outlook as balanced; fewer than in January viewed those risks as tilted to the downside. With few exceptions, participants judged that their projections for economic activity and inflation remained subject to a degree of uncertainty exceeding historical norms.

I looked back, and this is the lowest projections that I could find coming out of a recession that the FOMC has ever issued (perhaps you can find more information through some archive).

With some grain of salt, I consider the FOMC to be somewhat optimistic with their projections as has been proven for the past 6 years.

If they are right, we are more than likely seeing an L-shaped recession, with outlook growth slower than we have seen at least in the recessions since 1980.

In my opinion, we are very unlikely to see a strong recovery since household and government balance sheets hold large liabilities in proportion to their assets. Increased savings (which we are now seeing strongly rebound) destroys credit and monetary multiplication. With global wage arbitrage likely to hold US wages down for the time being, I don’t see an impetus for increased household spending. Indeed, I think we can all see how it can still contract further from here.

Chuck Ponzi

peterb
14 years ago
Reply to  Rich Toscano

My bad. Misunderstood you.
I

My bad. Misunderstood you.
I think it is worth noting however, that we’ve not gone into a recessionary period with so much public and private debt in the system. Nor have we had nearly these levels of debt defaults. Not sure how one would get to a recorvery from this economic state.

CricketOnTheHearth
14 years ago

I was pondering what effects
I was pondering what effects population changes might have had on housing prices in the past three decades. I had the impression California experienced a big population spike starting in the ’70’s, and I was thinking the sudden bump up in demand forced the price of housing (and rents) to skyrocket.

But looking at the state gov’t’s population stats (http://www.ca.gov/About/Facts/Population.html), that doesn’t seem to be necessarily so, at least based on the percentage changes in overall state population. I’m especially looking at Spreadsheet E-7, CA population from 1900 to 2008, the “Change”, “Percent” column.

In percentage changes, the ’40’s, 50’s, and early 60’s had higher growth, and migration also spiked in those years, yet anecdotally I’ve heard of house prices like $35,000 in San Francisco up till the ’70’s. There was another migration spike in the 70’s and 80’s, but at the same time the overall percent change in population in those years was less than it was in the go-go 40’s-60’s. But granted also, the state’s population has doubled since 1975.

So I’m not sure how to take these particular stats. Is it because most of the population growth landed in 3 MSAs (SF, LA, and later SD), causing the space available for housing to run out? Or was the drastic increase in CA housing prices to levels well above the national average due to some other factor, such as did housing regs suddenly change in the 70’s to make housing more expensive to build?

greekfire
14 years ago

Thanks for the update, Rich.
Thanks for the update, Rich. I just got my ESRI ArcNews magazine this month and saw this map of percent unemployment on the front.

[img_assist|nid=11375|title=Percent Unemployment by County (April, 2009)|desc=|link=node|align=center|width=401|height=263]