Wednesday, March 03, 2010

States: Delinquent Mortgages vs. Unemployment Rate

by Bill McBride on 3/03/2010 04:50:00 PM

The BLS released the annual average state unemployment rates today.

Here is a scatter graph comparing the delinquency rate for mortgage loans (including all loans in foreclosure) vs. unemployment rate for all states as of Q4 2009.

State Unemployment vs Mortgage delinquency Rate Click on graph for larger image in new window.

There definitely is a relationship between delinquency rates and the unemployment rate, although some states stand out (like Florida), because of state specific foreclosure laws. Arizona and Nevada also have higher than expected foreclosure rates - possibly because of high investor activity during the housing bubble.

This does suggest that a large part of the delinquency problem is related to the unemployment problem.

Imagine if there were no unemployment benefits. As Mark Thoma noted yesterday, Unemployment Compensation has Broad Based Benefits, but one benefit he didn't mention is that it keeps households in place. Even though there is a relationship between the unemployment rate and the delinquency rate, I suspect the trend line would be steeper without unemployment benefits (so there would be even more delinquencies as the unemployment rate rises without benefits).

Here is a sortable table to find the data for each state (use scroll bar to see all data).

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