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This article was written by Dick Conway, a well-respected Seattle economist. It provides a good overview of the current and past recessions in the Puget Sound area and his forecasts for employment growth going forward. He projects a modest job decline in 2010 of 0.8%, much better than the 4.0% reduction of jobs for 2009. He believes we will see job growth of 1.8% in 2011. To put this in perspective, the recession has caused total job losses of 97,000 or 5.3% of the local employment total. He projects the next decade (from 2010 to 2020) to produce more net jobs than the previous decade at an average growth rate of 1.8% per year. This would bring a total of 350,000 new jobs in the Puget Sound region over the next decade.

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12/26/09 - Treasury Yield Curve Steepens (Bloomberg.com)

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has climbed to its highest level in four months with a widening spread between it and the 2-year note. This is the good and bad news of economic recovery. We're all more than ready for business activity and jobs to grow, but with it comes inflationary pressures. Going forward, the buyers of government notes are likely to require higher yields which will push up interest and mortgage rates.

If you have a loan maturing in the next two years or want to lower your interest rate, my recommendation is to refinance sooner rather than later. Short term rates will stay low until the Federal Reserve begins to increase the short term rates to member banks. This could happen in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2010 depending on economic and job growth. Short term rates such as prime and LIBOR will increase immediately. Mortgage rates (5 to 30 years) generally follow the trend of the 10-year Treasury note. I have found the Bloomberg website to be a good source of checking bond rates day to day. In Yahoo Finance, you can track the historical rates of the 10-year note, which can be useful in gaining a perspective of where we may be in the cycle.

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12/15/2009 - American Dream 2: Default, Then Rent (The Wall Street Journal)

Home ownership is decreasing and renters increasing. Long term trends could bode well for residential rentals.

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12/11/2009 - Update on Financing Trends