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Economic News

DeMarco: principal forgiveness is the wrong solution, risky

As federal agencies issue release after release on the topic of principal forgiveness, each pushing their opinion, housing remains broken in many peoples’ eyes, and DeMarco addresses how he feels the focus on the write-offs is misplaced.

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FHFA director speaks on next steps

This morning, at the Brookings Institute1, Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) spoke2 on the issues surrounding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which is under the conservatorship of the FHFA. DeMarco addressed the flocks of homeowners that are struggling with paying their mortgage, and says that supporting those homeowners is the current objective of FHFA, Fannie and Freddie.

DeMarco said, “As FHFA makes its decision on whether the Enterprises should offer principal forgiveness with the HAMP triple incentives, we will look to the issues I have described: the NPV impact; borrower incentive effects; and operational costs. Those are the issues that are within our responsibilities as conservator of the Enterprises.”

The principal reduction controversy

Shaun Donovan, the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, which operates under the FHFA said in an interview over the weekend that granting principal reductions is “the right decision for homeowners and for the taxpayer.”

The FHFA says it would cost taxpayers $100 billion to grant principal reductions, while Fannie and Freddie say it would save taxpayers $150 billion. Neither appears to be compromising on their positions on the topic of write-downs.

DeMarco addressed the division between all of the agencies. “Whether Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac forgive principal or not, the universe of Enterprise borrowers potentially eligible for a HAMP PRA is well less than one million households, a fraction of the estimated 11 million underwater borrowers in the country today. This is not about some huge difference-making program that will rescue the housing market.”

DeMarco continued, “It is a debate about which tools, at the margin, better balance two goals: maximizing assistance to several hundred thousand homeowners while minimizing further cost to all other homeowners and taxpayers. The anticipated benefit of principal forgiveness is that, by reducing foreclosures relative to other modification types, Enterprise losses would be lowered and house prices would stabilize faster, thereby producing broader benefits to all market participants.”

The risks of principal reduction

The greater contingent risk, according to DeMarco, is the larger group of underwater homeowners who have “remained faithful to paying their mortgage obligations” and that encouraging their continued success could have a more broad impact on the recovering of housing, more so than debating “which modification approach offered to troubled borrowers is preferable.”

DeMarco notes that a key risk in forgiving debts of delinquent borrowers is the incentive for some to cease paying in search of principal forgiveness modification.

In the coming weeks, the agencies are expected to come to a consensus on next steps, but for now, as each leader give a speech, the fight appears more polarized than ever.

1 DeMarco’s audio speech
2 DeMarco’s prepared speech

Economic News

Boomers retirement may be the true reason behind the labor shortage

(ECONOMY) Millennials and Gen Z were quick to be blamed for the labor shortage, citing lazy work ethic- the cause could actually be Boomers retirement.

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Older man pictured in cafe with laptop nearby representing boomers retirement.

In July, we reported on the Great Resignation. With record numbers of resignations, there’s a huge labor shortage in the United States. Although there were many speculations about the reasons why, from “lazy” millennials to the number of deaths from Covid. Just recently, CNN reported that in November another 3.6 million Americans left the labor force. It’s been suggested that the younger generations don’t want to work but retiring Boomers might be the bigger culprit.

Why Boomers are leaving the labor force

CNN Business reports that 90% of the Americans who left the workplace were over 55 years old. It’s now being suggested that many of the people who have left the labor force since the beginning of the pandemic were older Americans, not Millennials or Gen Z, as we originally thought. Here are the reasons why:

  • Boomers are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than their younger counterparts, so they aren’t returning to work. Boomers are less willing to risk their health.
  • The robust real estate market has benefitted Boomers, who have more equity in their homes. Boomers have more options on the table than just returning to work.
  • Employers aren’t creating or posting jobs that lure people out of retirement or those near retirement age.

As Boomers retire, how does this impact the overall labor economy?

According to CNN Business, there are signs that the labor shortage is abating. Employers are starting to see record number of applicants to most posted jobs. FedEx, for example, just got 111,000 applications in one week, the highest it has ever recorded. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the pandemic-induced increase in retirement is only temporary. People who retired due to the risk of the pandemic will return to work as new strategies emerge to reduce the risk to their health. With new varients popping up, we will have to keep an eye on how the trend ultimately plays out.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?

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NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<

#CarsonHUD

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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.

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young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

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The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.

#JobOpenings

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