Monday, November 18, 2013

Everyone Needs a Place to Sleep

The first chart shows furniture and home furnishings store sales divided by wages.

Click to enlarge.

The next chart shows the consumer price index for furniture and bedding.

Click to enlarge.

As seen in the second chart, the first cracks in the furniture dam began to form just about the time that the long-term exponential trend for job growth began to fail. In my opinion, this is not a coincidence. This is not a short-term cyclical problem. This is a long-term structural problem. The housing bust combined with rapidly rising oil prices just added insult to injury.

Weak job growth. Weak demand. Weak pricing. Weak recovery.

February 26, 2009
He Is Living in a Cardboard Box

I’ve been living in these things for 15 years,” he said. “I get the materials from the hardware store and fix them right up.” He had a blue plastic tarp underneath in addition to the clear plastic on the top to keep out the rain.

“I saw them delivering refrigerators down on 14th Street and just leaving the boxes,” he said. “If you’re living on the street, that’s a home. So I picked up four of them and flattened them out and brought them up here. So I’m set for a while.”

Source Data:
BLS: CPI Database
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart


dd said...

Let's just call it "housing" and let him and his fellow cardboard innovators take out mortgages that can be securitized and sold as Cardboard Debt Obligations.
Forget the housing bubble; we need a cardboard bubble to jump start the economy.

Stagflationary Mark said...


CDOs for the win!

And while we are at it, let's just stop making all these single family units.

I'm picturing a bee's hive structure with many interconnected cardboard boxes.


Fritz_O said...

The next chart shows the consumer price index for furniture and bedding.

Fine print from a recent JCPenney Home Sale ad:

"Original" and "regular" prices are offering prices that may not have resulted in sales,...

NO @#$%!

Cardboard Debt Obligations

Through "financial innovation", the cardboard manufacturers will be able to meet the fervent demand for AAA-rated cardboard while also ridding their balance sheets of some unwanted assets.

A whole new "shadow lean-to" industry.

By the time it's a multitrillion-dollar business, Apple will have developed the iTreasury to rescue taxpayers.

Stagflationary Mark said...


The "lean-to" economy? Nice. Beats the "shadow listing" economy. You know, where the Titanic isn't exactly fully upright.

Fritz_O said...

It also beats the current "Conceit, Deceit, Debt, and Delusion ECONomy" we're currently operating under.