Given Barack Obama's Stimulus Package and efforts to curtail the amount of mortgage foreclosures that are occurring in the market place, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to compare the unemployment rate and underemployment (U6) rate in America with the mortgage delinquency rates that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are experiencing.
Looking at data for 2006 - 2008, you can see the impact of a vicious feedback cycle. As people get delinquent in their mortgages, banks and other investors have to write assets down and constrict credit, this feeds into the economic contraction which causes more companies to scale back on headcount and hours worked--causing increases in the unemployment rate and underemployment rate.
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In my opinion, as you look out into 2009 (and 2010) the economic contraction and credit crunch will continue to cost people their jobs--and this will cause an escalation in delinquent loans throughout 2009 and part of 2010---It will hit conforming loans, Alt-A loans, sub-prime and jumbo mortgages.
Expect Helicopter Ben to try and solve much of the problem by printing more money and trying to push long term rates near all-time lows.
For more information on underemployment click here: unempmloymentadvice.blogspot.com