April 19, 2014

U.S. Household Wealth Still Falling – Fed

From the BBC:

Households saw a 9% drop in wealth from the previous quarter – the largest since the Fed began collecting records more than 50 years ago. …

…The decline in net worth was the sixth consecutive quarterly drop.

The record fall pushed the total net worth of households down to $51.48 trillion.  It has now fallen 20% below its peak of $64.36tn in the third quarter of 2007.

Since then house prices have tumbled and more than a million people have lost their homes.

The World Has 332 Fewer Billionaires This Year

From the BBC:

Just 793 people can now lay claim to a place on the list, but on average they have lost 23% of their wealth.

The stock market collapse helped Microsoft founder Bill Gates regain the top spot, despite his wealth declining $18bn (£13.06bn) to $40bn.

He ousted investor Warren Buffet whose fortune declined by $25bn to $37bn.

Recession: From Wall Street to … Sesame Street?

From the Financial Times:

The recession has spread from Wall Street to Sesame Street. The home of Elmo and Oscar the Grouch announced on Wednesday that it would eliminate a fifth of its 355-strong workforce as market turmoil ate into its income and assets.

Sesame Workshop, the 41-year-old non-profit educational organisation behind the Sesame Street television programmes, toys and community projects, said on Wednesday it was “not immune to the unprecedented challenges of today’s economic environment”.

Unemployment Double Digit in Four States, National number exptected to follow by year’s end

From the Associated Press:

Four states — California, South Carolina, Michigan and Rhode Island — registered unemployment rates above 10 percent in January, and the national rate is expected to hit double digits by year-end.

The Labor Department’s report on state unemployment, released Wednesday, showed the increasing damage inflicted on workers and companies from a recession, now in its second year. Some economists now predict the unemployment rate will hit 10 percent by year-end, and peak at 11 percent or higher by the middle of 2010.

In December, only Michigan had a double-digit jobless rate. One month later, four states did and that did not count Puerto Rico, where the unemployment rate actually dipped to 13 percent in January, from 13.5 percent in December.

Bloomberg: Cleveland, Detroit Canaries in the Coal Mine for Coming Commercial Real Estate Problems

From Bloomberg on Monday:

March 9 (Bloomberg) — If you want to know what’s going to happen to commercial real estate across the U.S., look no further than Cleveland and Detroit.

Those two metropolitan areas lead the U.S. in mortgage delinquencies for owners of office buildings, apartments, malls and warehouses, a sign that cities hurt by the housing crisis will see their commercial markets dragged down next.

Commercial properties with mortgage payments 60 days late or more rose to 3.93 percent as of March in the Cleveland area and to 3.75 percent in the Detroit area, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The North American commercial property delinquency rate is 1.1 percent, according to Standard & Poor’s. …

… Cleveland’s office vacancy rate was 14.8 percent in 2008 and is forecast to rise to 20.4 percent in 2010, according to CBRE Econometric Advisors, part of CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the largest U.S. commercial real estate broker. A rate above 20 percent would be the highest since 1991, according to Jon Southard, principal at CBRE Econometric.

Cleveland’s unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in December. Ohio’s unemployment rate was 8.8 percent in January as the state lost 214,600 non-farm jobs, including 90,600 in manufacturing and 12,000 in financial services.