Monday, April 05, 2010

The Seven Faces of Malaise

The following is a run-down (bookmark the live dashboard) of seven of the most important trends currently playing out for individuals and households.

Any durable recovery must include a significant easing of all of these measures though some may lead while others lag.

Total Unemployment represents the broadest measure of unemployment and includes the “traditional” unemployment measure combined with all “marginally attached” and otherwise “underutilized” workers (including discouraged workers).

Persons unemployed for 27 or more weeks represents the total of all long term unemployed individuals who have yet to exhaust their unemployment benefits.

Total extended unemployment claims represents the total of all individual receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits as well as participating in both of the federal extended benefit programs (the “extended benefits” and “EUC 2008” from recent legislation).

The S&P/Case-Shiller Composite 10 home price index represents the general price movement of residential real estate nationally.

The Fannie Mae seriously delinquent series captures the severity of the foreclosure wave currently washing over the nation as well as discloses a serious conundrum for Washington as it seeks to “prop” the housing market at the expense of the solvency of these colossal government sponsored boondoggles.

The number of households participating in the federally sponsored food stamps program has been dramatically increasing over the past two years and clearly reflects the tremendously weak economic times for a large percentage of the U.S. population.

As expected total non-business bankruptcies, including Chapter 7, 11 and 13 across all regions, have increased significantly throughout the economic crisis.

Note: the dramatic surge and decline in 2005 was a result of a surge of filings in advance of the 2005 legislative changes to the process of personal bankruptcy.