As Merced goes into the holiday shopping season starting next Friday, all economic indicators are thumbs down.
Official unemployment crept up a point from last month to 16.4 percent, with an increase expected for November. This means that actual unemployment is over 20 percent now and will rise toward 30 percent as the winter wears on.
In October 361 Merced homes received notices of default, down 33 from September; there were 459 trustee sales, up 61 from September; 273 homes went back to banks, 36 more than in September; and 50 homes were sold to third persons, up slightly from September and greatly from October 2008, when only nine homes were sold to third parties.
Citing unemployment as the driving force, the Los Angeles Times reported last week: "One in seven U.S. home loans was past due or in foreclosure as of Sept. 30, putting that quarterly delinquency measure at its highest level since 1972, when the Mortgage Bankers Assn. began reporting it. At the beginning of this year, 1 in 10 loans was past due or in foreclosure."Read More »