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High Unemployment is Directly Associated with Housing Market Conditions

Updated on July 4, 2013

According to a think piece in The New Republic, the sagging housing market is an often overlooked factor in the ongoing high rate of joblessness because it has affected workers’ mobility, preventing them from relocating to cities or states where jobs are currently available.

Selling a house is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming in any situation. And in today’s economic environment, with so many houses, both existing and new homes, underwater, it can also be financially unfeasible. Netscape founder Marc Andreesen, in a recent blog in the Wall Street Journal wrote that the United States government should be doing everything it can to bring liquidity back to the real-estate market, including exerting federal pressure to force banks to do principal reductions on underwater mortgages. Andreesen is also in favor of eventually phasing out the mortgage-interest tax deduction because, in his view, it artificially increases homeownership and further decreases workforce mobility.

What is the Key to Lowering Unemployment?

Others believe that the key to lowering unemployment is education and retraining, because many workers in the United States lack the necessary education and skills needed compete for the jobs. Jobs being created as a result of emerging technologies in many sectors such as energy, software, and IT outstrip, in many cases, the skill sets of the employment pools. Many new companies are desperate for employees to fill software engineers, managing, marketing, and sales positions, and have begun looking offshore to fill these jobs. These are high paying jobs that offer stability and advancement.

Promoting higher education with an emphasis on science and technology studies is crucial to obtaining high paying jobs now and into the foreseeable future. Emphasizing those disciplines in elementary and high school will give college students the foundational skills needed to earn advanced degrees, and then compete in the workplace.

Workers who are currently unemployed would be well-served to invest in their futures by taking classes to upgrade their current skills or even learn associated skills for fields looking for workers. For example, construction workers unable to get work building houses could find jobs in the smart energy sector building wind turbines or solar farms with some retraining. They might also look to learn computer-based skills such as computer-aided drafting, which can move them into a related, but parallel, industry.

Housing Market Still Plagued by Foreclosures

Real Estate Market News

U.S. Real Estate Market: End of an Era - The website provides a number of historical charts of mortgage rates. Here is the one that I would like to discuss. It is a chart of mortgage rates over the last 50 years.

The Housing Market is Shrinking - The foreclosure headlines today are that one third of all home sales in Q2 were of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales), according to a new report from online foreclosure sale and data site RealtyTrac.

What do You Think we Should do to Increase Employment?

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