National foreclosure crisis could get worse

Negative equity remains a problem for the nation’s homeowners, according to a U.S. News and World Report story:

Loans currently in the foreclosure process amount to about $45 billion in negative equity, according to RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore. But that figure balloons to $1.2 trillion when you add in the more than 12 million underwater mortgages that haven’t started the foreclosure process—26 times the negative equity currently associated with troubled loans.

Home prices rise again in May

According to a report issued by S&P Dow Jones Indices this morning, home prices rose in May — the second straight month they did so. The national increase averaged 2.2 percent, May over April, following a 1.3 percent increase, April over March.

In the New York area, which includes much of northern New Jersey, the numbers are 1.4 percent and 0.2 percent.

NJPP’s unemployment rates by county

New Jersey Policy Perspective has published a map that shows unemployment rates by county in the state. Though the state unemployment rate was at 9.6 percent, what is striking is that the map shows 11 of 21 counties with unemployment rates above 10 percent — seven of which are above 11 percent. Six counties, most of them in the northwestern part of the state, are below 9 percent (Morris, Warren and Hunterdon are below 8 percent).

Inequality in New Jersey

The Poverty Research Institute issues a report showing that the income of the top 20 percent — and top 1 percent in particular — continued to rise over the last decade, while those in the bottom 30 percent saw theirs fall and the rest experienced stagnation.

Welcome to the New Jersey Poverty & Economic Reporting Project

With unemployment at generational highs, both nationally and in the state of New Jersey, it is important to ensure that the debate over the economy focuses on the people who find themselves struggling to get by.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer noted in May,

More New Jersey residents lived in poverty in 2010 than ever before, according to a report released Sunday.

A record 885,0000 people in the state, nearly 300,000 of them children, lived below the poverty line, say authors of an analysis by the Legal Services of New Jersey Poverty Research Institute in Edison, which is based on the most recent numbers available.

The New Jersey Poverty & Economic Reporting Project will publish original reporting and commentary and links to news reports and commentary on the economy and economic need in New Jersey and around the nation. Our goal is to open a window into the lives of those in the cross-hairs of an unsettled economy.

It is administered by Hank Kalet, a long-time New Jersey journalist and editor.

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