Job losses and consumer spending

Is the past prelude? Here’s a comparison of job losses in all the post-WW2 recessions. Note how bad the slope is for the current recession. Be careful though, these are absolute numbers and not relative to population.
Job losses
And here is the change in consumer spending over the past 50 years smoothed to six months — meaning some bad months have gotten smoothed over with the surrounding better months. Is this really the only the second time it’s gone negative in five decades? And that first time was only barely negative.
Consumer Spending

Warren Buffett and Obama

Here is Warren Buffett interview by Tom Brokaw on Dateline NBC. Buffett is very positive on Obama’s leadership. (7 min):

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More on bogus $70/hour for auto workers

More on bogus claim the auto workers making $70/hour.
From Economic Scene – Figure Skews Debate of a Bailout for Detroit – NYTimes.com

“We’ve heard this garbage about 73 bucks an hour”, Senator Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said last week. “It’s a total lie. I think some people have perpetrated that deliberately, in a calculated way, to mislead the American people about what we’re doing here.”

Here’s a nice graphic:
graph2.png

Is it time to buy?

I still think it’s too risky a time to buy a house. The real estate market won’t shoot up that fast if you mis-time it by a year!
This article is trying to suggest it may be a good time (interest rates may drop to 4.5%!!!!) but don’t miss out on those little nuggets of reality:
From It May Be Time to Think About Buying a House

buyers in 33 of the markets could see a decline by 2012, including potential six-figure drops on an average home in the New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle metropolitan areas.

map1.png
Here is yet another diagram showing how the price/(yearly rent) ratio was historically stable around 15. Not the last few years. So either rents need to go up (not very likely) or house prices need to come down.

Moreover, the relationship between rent and home prices showed remarkable stability. In recent
decades, the median home price has been roughly 15 times median annual rent

graph1.png
Here’s a link to the original report