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Friday, June 19, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — June 19, 2009

Items of Interest:

Double Digit Unemployment Strikes

Unemployment of 10% Spreads, Risking U.S. Recovery --More than one-quarter of American states now have unemployment rates higher than 10 percent, and all but two saw a further job-market deterioration in May.

Tennessee and Indiana joined the rank of states, now 13, that have jobless rates exceeding 10 percent, and eight states - - including California, Florida and Georgia -- reached their highest level of joblessness in May since records began in 1976, the Labor Department reported today in Washington...

L.A. Times:
California unemployment rises to 11.5% in May -- Only four states have higher unemployment rates than California. The national jobless rate is 9.4%. California's rate is the state's highest since World War II. California's unemployment rate shot up to its highest level in the post-World War II era...
AP / Forbes:
SC unemployment rate hits record 12.1% May -- South Carolina's unemployment rate rose to a record 12.1 percent in May.

Friday's report showed a sharp increase from the record 11.4 percent set in April and was driven higher by job losses in the state's tourism industry...
Triangle Business Journal:
North Carolina unemployment jumps to 11.1% -- Unemployment in North Carolina rose to 11.1 percent in May as the state continued to grapple with a recession now entering its 18th month, the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina reported Friday.

April’s unemployment figure was 10.7 percent. In May 2008, joblessness in North Carolina stood at 5.9 percent, according to the ESC...
Scott Andron & Joel Poelhuis / Miami Herald:
Florida's unemployment rate hits 10.2 percent -- Florida's unemployment rate broke a psychological barrier in May, entering double digits for the first time in 34 years.

Although Florida's economy could start to grow again early next year, experts say unemployment could stay near current levels for up to two years. Employers typically remain cautious about adding workers until they are sure things are really better.

At 10.2 percent, the state's May jobless rate was up from April's revised 9.7 percent, and was higher than the national rate of 9.4 percent.

In Miami-Dade, the rate jumped from 8.2 percent in April to 9.8 percent in May...
Georgia, North Carolina, Kansas Banks Shut as U.S. Tally for Year Hits 40 -- Banks in Georgia, North Carolina and Kansas with total assets of $1.5 billion were closed today, bringing this year’s tally of failures to 40 amid the highest unemployment in a quarter century...
Money CNN.com:
Searching for a bottom in the housing market -- Sales in the decimated housing market may finally be bottoming, but don't expect home prices to stop dropping before mid-2010 at the earliest, analysts and economists say.
Nicole Gelinas, NY Post:
The Bad Economic Fallout From Bailouts -- THE next time he sees President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg should lay out how the White House's auto-industry bailouts have hit hard at US financial markets -- and so hurt New York's future.

To please the United Auto Workers union, the president hacked away at a key cornerstone of markets: respect for centuries' worth of precedent in bankruptcy law...
Andrew Martin / NY Times:
A Credit Squeeze for Small-Business Owners-- A crackdown on credit limits by card companies is squeezing the nation’s small businesses, exacerbating the problems caused by a stagnant economy....
Vitaliy Katsenelson / Minyanville:
Five Reasons Not to Be a Gold Bug -- The arguments for why you should sell your cat, pawn your mother-in-law, and use the proceeds to buy gold are well known: The friendly Fed is printing money faster than you can read this; it will result in inflation; the government is borrowing like a drunken monkey; the dollar will be devalued; all currencies will be debased; the only thing that will save you is that shiny yellow metal, and so forth.

Here are some arguments, however, for why you should think twice before jumping into bed with gold bugs...
Kevin Depew / Minyanville:
Special Edition Five Things: The US Dollar -- Every day brings yet one more story about the US dollar. Will the greenback crash? Will it lose its status as reserve currency? What is a dollar? And if we're here in the states, why do we care whether it goes up or down in value against other currencies? Let's take a look at some answers to these questions...
Joachim Fels / Morgan Stanley:
Global Forecast Update: After the Deepest Recession, the Weakest Recovery -- Thus, the massive global policy stimulus applied in response to the credit crisis has successfully short-circuited the vertiginous downward spiral of global demand, output and trade witnessed during late 2008 and early 2009. As we see it, the stimulus helped to spark the recovery in risky asset markets and vaporised deflation fears, thus supporting economic activity...

Could we be wrong? Yes, ... In our bear case, we assume that policy finds very little further traction in the advanced economies in the remainder of this year, risky assets tumble again and EM recoveries falter as global risk-aversion returns. Global GDP would shrink by 3% this year (against -1.6% in our base case) and grow by only 1.4% next year ...
Regensberg, Investment Adviser, Sentenced to 9 Years -- Hayim Regensberg, the former president of Arbco Capital Management LLP and Mid West Trading LLC, was sentenced to more than nine years in prison for defrauding investors in an $13 million Ponzi scheme, prosecutors said...
Former NHL quarterback Bernie Kosar files for bankruptcyCleveland Plain Dealer:
Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar files for bankruptcy -- Browns football great Bernie Kosar Jr. filed for bankruptcy protection in Florida on Friday.

The quarterback who managed to outsmart the National Football League draft system so he could play in Cleveland apparently could not beat a struggling national economy and the collapse of Florida's real estate market...

The Boardman native and Cleveland Gladiators arena football team president said his debts fall between $10 million and $50 million, and his assets are worth between $1 million and $10 million. Kosar's top 20 debts totaled $19.5 million.

In a prepared statement, attorney Michael J. Kasen said Kosar "has become the latest victim of the economic downturn and collapse of the real estate market." ...
NY Times: Bernie Kosar and Bankrupty and Belichick

USA Today:
Ex-NFL QB Bernie Kosar files for bankruptcy protection

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