20 Aug 2009

This Recession’s Got Legs

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More “unexpected” bad news from CNBC… Jobless claims show “surprise” gains, and mortgage delinquencies aren’t confined to subprime borrowers:

Late payments on U.S. mortgages increased to a record in the second quarter, with almost one in eight homeowners delinquent or in the foreclosure process, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Thursday.

A sharp drop in subprime adjustable-rate mortgages entering the foreclosure process offset a surge on other types of loans, particularly prime fixed-rate loans, the MBA said in its National Delinquency Survey.

The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started fell to 1.36 percent in the second quarter, down from an all-time high of 1.37 percent in the first quarter, but up sharply from 1.08 percent in the second quarter of 2008.

What’s really depressing is that I think most Americans–including supposedly no-nonsense businesspeople–can’t understand why this downturn doesn’t just bottom out, for crying out loud. I mean really, all the other recessions ended after a while, so surely this one has to, any day now?

And what’s really crazy is that if you pushed the average business owner or investor, and said, “Actually, this time is different–the government and the Fed have been doing things that they haven’t done since the 1930s,” then the response would probably be, “I know! That’s what’s so perplexing! Even with all of the government stimulus and Fed easing, for some reason this particular recession is dragging on forever. What the heck?!”

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