Still In The Woods

I go straight to Calculated Risk for all my ‘real’ economic news, by which I mean the data and basic commentary. Their graphs are outstanding.

And those graphs are telling all kinds of still-nasty stories about the downturn we are still in.

Look at the housing starts:

Hopefully it’s becoming clear that the economic story is not about ‘we built too many houses’. It’s about lots of stuff (debt deleveraging, etc). Have a look at this. The single family housing starts are down, sure, but so are owner built and built for rent sales, which didn’t really pick up in the boom.

And I like the graph below because I’ve long had the impression that most apartment buildings were built in the 70s and 80s. And it’s true!*

When people talk about “infrastructure spending” think about all of the low hanging fruit that’s already been picked.

Let’s build some highways. Got ’em.

Let’s build some airports. Got them, too.

Ok, how about apartment buildings? Done, and, in any case, NIMBY!

Replacing these things are going to be much less accretive to growth than building them in the first place.

And of course the real story is employment.

*My wife and I recently moved and had trouble finding a place that would both let our two dogs in and was built in the last 10 years.

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