UCLA Forecast: Housing Slump Will Finally Affect Jobs

The UCLA Anderson Forecast, long bearish on the Calif. housing market during the boom, released its second quarterly report for 2007 early this morning. Interestingly, the economists at the Southern Calif. think-tank are a bit more bullish that I’d expected — which is probably a good sign — although there is an expectation that job growth (at least in the Golden State) will be hit hard by the mortgage slump in the back half of this year. Nationally, economist David Shulman essentially says it’s a really good thing we’re part of a global economy:

In his national report, UCLA Anderson Forecast Senior Economist David Shulman notes that if the current (and continuing) forecast is close to the mark, then the period from second quarter 2006 through first quarter 2008 will mark an historically anomalous long period of below trend growth. But he remains consistent with the story the Forecast has been telling for some time, that a recession is not imminent for the U.S. economy. … With housing and consumption both “down,â€? the strength of the national economy lies in the rest of the world. “The global economy is booming,â€? Shulman writes. “Indeed, it is the strength of the global economy that is powering the stock market to new highs (and) it is no accident that the Wall Street rally is being led by the giant global corporations who are benefiting most from the worldwide expansion.â€?

But the picture in Calif. is decidely less optimistic, at least in the short term:

In the California report, UCLA Anderson Forecast Economist Ryan Ratcliff concedes that 2007 has been a bit of a conundrum for those tracking the state’s economy. … The question, simply put, is this: If the job growth of the early part of the decade was fueled by real estate (read: construction and the mortgage industry), why hasn’t the decline in the real estate sector translated into slower job growth and greater unemployment? Ratcliff believes that the answer lies in the timing and that it is in the final two quarters of 2007 and the beginning of 2008, that the job losses will manifest.

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