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Friday, December 5, 2008

The Crash of '08 Roundup — December 5, 2008

Items of Interest:

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Louis Uchitelle / New York Times:
U.S. Loses 533,000 Jobs in November; Joblessness at 6.7% -- The government’s report of a giant job loss in November, the biggest monthly decline in a generation, puts more pressure on Congress and the administration to move quickly on a stimulus package, mortgage relief and perhaps financial aid for Detroit’s big automakers.

The nation’s employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Not since December 1974, toward the end of a severe recession, have so many jobs disappeared in a single month — and the current recession, far from ending, appears to be just gathering steam...
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A. Karydakis / Fortune:
Bleak Jobs Report Suggests Bigger Layoffs Ahead - Employers have less work for the people still on the job, suggesting bigger layoffs ahead...
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Robert Reich / Robert Reich's Blog:
Shall We Call it a Depression Now? — Today's employment report, showing that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, 320,000 in October, and 403,000 in September — for a total of over 1.2 million over the last three months — begs the question of whether the meltdown we're experiencing should be called a Depression...
discussion: American Power, HorsesAss.Org, Outside The Beltway, Grasping Reality …, The Sideshow and Open Left
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Economix, / NY Times:
Workers Give Up -- How bad was today’s jobs report? The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent, its highest level since 1993 — and that understated the weakness in the labor market.

According to the Labor Department, the number of unemployed workers rose by 251,000 in November. But the number of people who were outside of the labor force — that is, neither working nor looking for work — rose by much more: 637,000. These people aren’t counted as unemployed in the government’s statistics, because they are not looking for work. Many of them, presumably, have stopped looking for work because they didn’t think they could find a good job
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NY Times:
A Rush Into Refinancing as Mortgage Rates Fall -- The housing market may finally be getting some relief, with lower mortgage rates already encouraging refinancing and Treasury officials considering ways to entice new buyers.

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced that it would buy $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae. Mortgage rates immediately dropped, and that led to a surge in mortgage refinancing activity for the week — even with the Thanksgiving holiday...
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World of the Wall Street Rich CollapsesMichael Shnayerson / Vanity Fair:
Profiles in Panic: The World of the Rich Collapses - With Wall Street hemorrhaging jobs and assets, even many of the wealthiest players are retrenching. Others, like the Lehman Brothers bankers who borrowed against their millions in stock, have lost everything. Hedge-fund managers try to sell their luxury homes, while trophy wives are hocking their jewelry. The pain is being felt on St. Barth’s and at Sotheby’s, on benefit-gala committees and at the East Hampton Airport, as the world of the Big Rich collapses, its culture in shock and its values in question...

Almost everyone has lost something—if not their jobs, then 25 to 50 percent of their retirement savings—and nearly everyone is glum, anxious, hung over. Prudence is the watchword now: sackcloth after the brilliant silks and brocades of the gilded age. The day after Lehman Brothers went down, a high-end Manhattan department store reportedly had the biggest day of returns in its history. “Because the wives didn’t want the husbands to get the credit-card bills,” says a fashion-world insider. A prominent designer says ruefully, “People really aren’t shopping at all unless there’s a deal or sale. It’s pretty dramatic—they have the stores at their mercy.” ...
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Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia