On Friday Reuters reported that non-government payrolls rose only slightly in June and overall employment fell “for the first time this year … indicating the economic recovery is failing to pick up steam.” This report followed several others last week indicating weakness in consumer spending, housing, and manufacturing which “have heightened fears [that] the economy could slip back into a recession.”
Just when Americans thought that the bailouts were over, Bloomberg Financial News service reported on June 13 that the final tab for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout is increasing and may total as much as $1 trillion.
Before the economic meltdown was in full swing, a Florida real-estate developer named William Pitts correctly read the signs pointing toward tough times ahead. In an effort to preserve some of his savings, he bought financial products that would increase in value as real-estate and banking collapsed. It seemed like the sensible thing to do. But though his analysis was correct, his investments went bust — because the U.S. Federal Reserve made them go bust.
According to the New York Times, “A growing number of the people whose homes are in foreclosure are refusing to slink away in shame.” They are just refusing to make their mortgage payments but continue to live in their home until the bank evicts them. LPS Applied Analytics says the average borrower in foreclosure “has been delinquent for 438 days before actually being evicted.” This means that the homeowner essentially lives rent-free for nearly 15 months, and can use his mortgage payment to make other payments such as car loans and credit cards.
After six straight months of gains in consumer spending the April numbers showed no change from March, according to the Commerce Department. This was a surprise to some who have been tracking such things as the University of Michigan’s index of consumer confidence (higher), consumers’ expectations on the economy over the next 12 months (higher), moderate real job creation (higher), savings rate (higher) and manufacturing activity (higher).