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Wednesday: Architecture Billings Index


I try to avoid being a “media critic” because it would be a full-time job (my former co-blogger Tanta pointed out numerous errors by reporters). However this Yahoo article bothered me enough today to comment: To get ahead, more Americans must do this one thing.

The article started “Economists have been puzzled about why the latest recession produced such a feeble recovery …”. Really? Most of the economists I respect forecast a sluggish recovery for several key reasons: 1) recoveries from financial crisis tend to be slow, 2) household balance sheets had to be repaired, 3) housing (usually the best leading sector) was going to languish due to excess supply of vacant homes and a high number of distressed properties, 4) state and local governments were cutting back significantly (the “50 little Hoovers”), 5) the stimulus package was too small and ended too soon – and the Federal government pivoted to austerity (deficit reduction) too soon.

I could list a few more reasons, but the sluggish recovery was not a puzzle – and was predicted by me (in 2009) and many others. 

The article focuses on mobility (an interesting topic). Of course I was writing about how the housing bust would probably impact labor mobility in 2008. So this isn’t exactly new ground, and I don’t think mobility was a leading reason for the sluggish recovery.

• At 7:00 AM ET, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

• During the day: The AIA’s Architecture Billings Index for December (a leading indicator for commercial real estate).
Calculated Risk

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