Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How the World Works - Salon.com

How the World Works - Salon.com: "Recession watch

If the blogosphere has a single credo to hang its collective hat on, it should be reporter A.J. Liebling's classic boast: 'I write faster than anyone who is better than me, and better than anyone who is faster.'

It's easy enough to dash off one line or one paragraph linking to news of something happening elsewhere, reported by someone else. It's significantly harder to analyze what that news means and add significant value. Today's nominee for showing us how this is done is the economics blog Calculated Risk -- probably the best one-stop shop, right now, for news and analysis on the housing market.

The Census Bureau reported today that new home sales declined in February by 3.9 percent, compared to January (and by 18.3 percent compared to February 2006.) The Wall Street Journal called this 'surprising' -- though, at this point, the fact that anyone would consider new bad news from the housing sector as surprising is, well, kind of surprising.

At 6:33 a.m. Calculated Risk reported the Census Bureau's numbers, complete with a sheaf of enlightening charts. A little less than two hours later came the analysis, highlighting a disturbing data point connecting past recessions with home sales data.

Over the last 35 years, sales of new homes fell sharply 'prior to every recession,with the exception of the business investment led recession of 2001. This should raise concerns about a possible consumer led recession in the months ahead.""

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