The week already there have been a few startling reports about the economy. The Associated Press reported that in the construction industry there was an unprecedented decline in starts. The biggest drop ever! It also reported that the salmon industry is being designated a disaster qualifying it for federal help. The Washington Center for Real Estate Research also reported that in Pierce, King and Snohomish Counties home sales (excluding new homes) were down by about one third over last year, a little above the national average. This suggests that the local insulation from the national trend that we have enjoyed may be ending. Finally, Realty-Trac reported that in April foreclosures are up 65%. Now one in 519 homes in the country is in foreclosure. Washington, which initially was not severely affected by this phenomenon, is now in the middle of the pack among the states.
That’s not all the sobering economic news but all I could stomach mentioning. It is not clear to me how Bush’s policies influenced the number of salmon swimming around (a joke), but these trouble spots are directly linked to the mortgage crisis and generally attributed to the financial community’s exploitation of the absence of regulation, particularly in the investment banking area. Some people more informed than me say that the country’s rampant deficit spending also plays a role, but precisely how I do not understand.
The rising local concern about the economy will play an important role in the November elections.