December 10th, 2009
02:24 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Home foreclosures down, net worth up

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/BUSINESS/10/15/goldman.sachs.profits.ft/art.goldmansachs.afp.gi.jpg caption="Top executives at Goldman Sachs will receive no cash bonuses this year."]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Foreclosure filings fell by 8% in November, making it the fourth consecutive month of improvement in the housing market.

There were 306,627 filings last month, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties. That decline follows a 3% drop in October, 4% in September and 1% in August.

However, while there are signs of improvement, the industry has yet to turn around: Foreclosure filings were still a lofty 18% above November 2008's levels.

Household net worth in the United States rose for the second quarter in a row, growing 5% to an estimated $53.4 trillion in the third quarter, according to the Federal Reserve.

The $2.7 trillion rebound in net worth, which is the difference between a household's assets and liabilities, comes as stock prices have rallied this year, boosting the value of Americans' investment portfolios.

Stock holdings rose by nearly 17% to $7.4 trillion, according to the central bank's quarterly flow of funds report.

Net worth was also supported by improvements in the housing market. Real estate values increased by 2% to $16.5 trillion in the third quarter, after rising in the second quarter for the first time since late 2006.

On the jobs front, the number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment insurance jumped unexpectedly by 17,000 to 474,000 in the week ended Dec. 5 - the first increase in five weeks.

But the numbers are a little inflated, because state offices were closed for thanksgiving two weeks ago, delaying some claims.

And the number of people who continue to receive benefits for one week or more dropped by 303,000 to 5,157,000.

Speaking of jobs, are you out of work and looking for a new profession? You might want to consider becoming a computer systems designer or home health care aid.

Even with unemployment at 10%, some industries like professional service and health care will grow in the years ahead, according to a report from the Labor Dept.’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Professional and business services and health care and social assistance are expected to have the largest employment growth from 2008 to 2018, the Labor Dept. said.

Professional and business services will add 4.2 million jobs over that 10-year period while health care will increase its employment by 4 million.

Within professional and business services, consulting, computer systems design and employment services will have the most growth.

In the health care and social assistance industry, the top gainers are home health care, services for the elderly and those with disabilities, nursing care facilities and employment in offices of physicians.

Top executives at Goldman Sachs will receive no cash bonuses this year. Instead, the 30 members of Goldman’s management committee will be paid in a special form of company stock that would be subject to certain restrictions, the company says.

The changes, which will impact CEO Lloyd Blankfein among others, are part of a larger plan to revamp the company's compensation practices which was announced last spring.

Goldman Sachs, which has come under fire in recent months amid speculation that it’s on track to pay some of its biggest bonuses since the financial crisis erupted, also says it will give stockholders a “say on pay” vote for top executives at next year's shareholder meeting.

And Citigroup is reportedly working to reach an agreement with federal officials to return a portion of its bailout funds, which would free the company from the government's most restrictive limits on executive pay.

Citigroup, which received $45 billion in taxpayer funds, will seek to repay $20 billion raised at least in part through a stock offering, according to various reports.

This follows news yesterday that Bank of America has cut a check to the government for the $45 billon in bailout money it received from the TARP.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Tim Gibson

    Swap and trade until the bleed slows without correcting the cause of the bleed will only result in further problems down the road.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm |