A currency collapse is raising prices for everything and an overall economic collapse is making imported meat soar to about $25 a pound, driving Lebanese to the brink.
“Some people perceive bartering as a terrible thing, using it to explain how desperate we are… No, Lebanese are not poor, they are generous people who need to maintain their dignity,” “Lebanon barters” creator told Hassan Hasna.
“A Lebanese person would say: ‘Yes, the economic situation is tough, and the situation is deteriorating but it doesn’t mean I want to humiliate myself and beg. I am willing to barter a piece of clothing in exchange for bread.’ I am proud of such people. They’re doing the impossible to survive and live with dignity.”
Lebanon Barters facebook group
CONTINUING SHORTFALL IN SUPPLY
Just as the recent housing downturn was longer and deeper than any other since the Great Depression, the residential construction rebound has been slower. Since reaching bottom in 2011 at just 633,000 new units, additions to the housing stock have grown at an average annual rate of just 10 percent. Despite these steady gains, completions and placements totaled only 1.2 million units last year—the lowest annual production, excluding 2008–2018, going back to 1982.
The sluggish construction recovery is in part a response to persistently weak household growth after the recession. On a three-year trailing basis, the number of net new households dropped below 1.0 million in 2008 and held below that mark for seven straight years, including a low of just 534,000 in 2009. By comparison, even through the three recessions and large demographic shifts that occurred between 1980 and 2007, household growth still averaged 1.3 million annually and only dipped below 1.0 million once.
With the economy finally back on track, household growth picked up to 1.2 million a year in 2016–2018, close to expected levels given the size and age composition of the population. But new construction was still depressed relative to demand, with additions to supply just keeping pace with the number of new households (Figure 1). As a result, the national vacancy rate for both owner-occupied and rental units fell again in 2018, to 4.4 percent, its lowest point since 1994.
JOINT CENTER FOR HOUSING STUDIES OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY
A new study finds that more than 60% of personal bankruptcies in the United States in 2007 were caused by health-care costs associated with a major illness. That’s a 50% increase in the number of bankruptcies blamed on medical expenses since a similar study in 2001.
In an article published in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, the results of the first-ever national random-sample survey of bankruptcy filers shows that illnesses and medical bills contribute to a large and increasing share of bankruptcies.
Consumer Affairs, Truman Lewis
In Minneapolis, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,228, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $49,122. The average price of a home in Minneapolis is $250,779.
In Denver, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,725, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $68,983.
The average price of a home in Denver is $352,172.
In Boston, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $2,384, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $95,344.
The average price of a home in Boston is $486,752.
In San Francisco, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $5,052, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $202,094.
The average price of a home in San Francisco is $1,032,732.
NY TIMES article on the need for employees in the food service industry.
From the article:
Mr. Kaplow has tried everything he can think of to find workers, placing Craigslist ads, asking other franchisees for referrals, seeking to hire people from Subways that have closed.
From the comments:
I’m 65 and would like to work part-time because I don’t want to fully retire yet. I have applied at a few places that clearly hire older workers, but they want to pay me ten dollars an hour or less. I don’t expect to be paid what I was paid on my last job, but my first job out of college in 1977 paid about ten dollars an hour.
I’ll do volunteer work before accepting ten dollars an hour. Employers are insulting my intelligence and a lifetime of experience by offering such low wages. They are also insulting the young people who, unfortunately, need vast amounts of money to go to college now. My tuition and fees (not including room and board) at a very respectable New Jersey university were $235 a semester from 1973 to 1977. Yes, $235 a semester — thats all. Today, that same university charges about $14,000 for tuition and fees, plus another $12,000 or so for room and board.
The toxic politics are bad enough, but the city also has become unaffordable for the middle class. Partly, that is due to high demand (which is a good problem for a city to have), but it’s also due to self-inflicted wounds, such as a restrictive housing policy that artificially caps supply. Seattle is well on its way to becoming the next Vancouver, British Columbia, with the median housing price having spiked to an eye-watering $820,000, far outside the reach of the middle class. Unless they are able to save for about 14 years to afford a down payment, millennials can forget about homeownership entirely.
The writer has lived in Seattle for 14 years and is moving on.
Are we in another bubble? I remember 2008. I see a lot of places for rent and for sale that I don’t see a lot of people being able to afford. Maybe I’m not getting it.
Here’s how it looks in Somerville, Massachusetts.
For a century and more, Somerville was a working-class neighborhood bordering Cambridge. The city is still populated with a dense mix of blue-collar workers and recent immigrants, all living in together in red-brick and clapboard three-decker housing. It also provided many affordable, off-campus rooms and apartments to Tufts, Harvard, and MIT students as well as artists, writers, and radicals. Today, it’s dealing with the aftershocks of a boom in biotech and the knowledge economy that’s now rippling out from post-rent-control Cambridge. That bloom of wealth and demand is pushing premium jobs and rocketing rents into neighboring Somerville, a place where suddenly everybody wants to live and a lot of proud residents can no longer afford.
via Open Source with Christopher Lydon