Saturday, October 29, 2016

Blacks struggle to build wealth according to National Association of Real Estate Brokers

Home ownership has been the primary means of wealth building for the majority of Americans. Now its taking a beating.  All major groups in the US, except the wealthy, have lost homes since the peak ownership year of 2004. The trend accelerated during the last recession with the mortgage loan and foreclosure crisis.

Black home ownership continued to fall as the sub-prime/foreclosure crisis took its toll. Black home ownership has decreased to 41.3% in 2016 down from a high of 49.4% in 2003. That's a 16% decrease. Whites has a corresponding drop of 8%. The percentage is the second lowest ever measured for Blacks since the Census Bureau started keeping track in 1994. The lowest point was 41.2% in 1995.  The sharp decline reflects the disaster in sub prime loans and the crisis in foreclosures.

There are also been a huge shift from conventional mortgages to Federal Housing Administration(FHA) backed mortgages for Black mortgages.

Here is the press release from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) that discusses the issue in detail.

In addition the NAREB funds an annual study of Black home ownership called the State of Housing in Black America (SHIBA). The report is a detailed examination of trends in Black housing. The report gives a significant amount of detail regarding the home loan process, historic discrimination in the real estate market and recommendations for fixing the loan process.

Highlights in the report include:

* Spotlighting a virtual halt in mortgage lending to Blacks since the recession in 2007.

* The huge drop in Black mortgage applications and loan origination after the recession. The number of loan applications dropped from about 750,000 in 2005 to 120,000 in 2010 and the number of loans dropped from 400,000 to 75,000 during the same period.

* Blacks receive fewer conventional loans as compare to White Americans (30% Black vs. 44% White) and are more reliant FHA backed loans. (46% vs. 19%).

Here is a chart of US home ownership rates by race.  You can see the 17% drop in ownership by Blacks versus 8% drop by Whites. In the 3rd quarter of 2016 all rates posted improvements expect Black owner ship.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Black/White Wealth Gap Remains in Spite of Black Celebrities

In a great article posted on Inequality.Org, Antonio Moore writes that the small number of wealthy, highly-visible  Black celebrities serves to hide the huge racial wealth gap in the US between Blacks and Whites. Black sport figures and celebrities are about 5% of the top 0.1% of earners in the US. Yet their constant media presence deludes both Blacks and Whites about the lack of Black wealth.

The story, called: "Black Wealth in America Hardly Exists", discusses the real lack of progress in closing the Black/White difference in wealth.

The Institute for Policy Studies has found that it would take about 228 years to close the racial wealth gap in a previous study. The report is called "The Ever Growing Gap"

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

No News in September Labor Report. Unemployment Rate Steady at 5% and 156,000 Jobs Added

The Labor department released the September unemployment report on Friday, Oct. 7th, 2016.  There were zero surprises in the report. The official national unemployment rate was reported at 5.0%. The establishment survey report 156,000 new payroll jobs. Yawn. There were 7.9 million people unemployed, about the same as last month. Wages increased 6 cents for the month.

The unemployment rate has averaged about 5.0% for the past year.  Labor Force participation has hovered around 63%.

About 200,000 jobs per month have been added over the past year on average.

The Big Story that Wasn't

There were two big stories non-stories. First, the job report had zero impact on the presidential election. Usually one candidate screams that the report is biased or manipulated. Mitt Romney made a similar claim during the 2012 election.  This time the report was ignored.

The second big economic story is how little movement has occurred in all the large macroeconomic levels in the US. The unemployment rate is flat.  So is the inflation rate.  The GDP growth rate remains below 2.0%. Absent some shock, we are going to continue like this for a while. Some economists are calling this period: Secular Stagnation.  Economists and policy makers fear that the US has entered a long period of low growth and zero inflation. This slow period makes it difficult to solve problems like poverty, unemployment and income inequality in the US.

Black Unemployment

The Blacks' (thanks Donald) unemployment picture continued to improve. The rate has dropped 1.0% in the past year after peaking in 2011.

Black unemployment remains well above the national average.  It is nearly double that of White workers.

The number of Black people who want jobs or additional hours remained high at 13%. U-6 is the total of the unemployed, discouraged workers and workers who want extra hours. National U-6 was reported at 9.7%.

Establishment Survey and Non Farm Payrolls

As mentioned earlier the economy added 156K jobs as reported by the establishment survey. 

Jobs By Category

The biggest job gains were in business services (67K), healthcare (33K) and eating and drinking places (30K).  Retails sales also add 22,000 reported positions.

Construction add 23,000 workers while Manufacturing lost 13,000 sports (11K of which were in durable goods).  Temporary Help increased by 23,000 workers. Government lost 11K employees.

ADP reported 154,000 new payroll jobs split between 34,000 small business jobs (1-49 employees), 56,000 medium sized payroll jobs and 64,000 large corporate jobs(500 or more employees). The report has a surprising number of large company jobs.

The Paychex small business employment index declined from 100.70 to 100.52.  The index has status neutral.

Saturday, October 1, 2016 Black Business Directory

A friend gave me tip on a web site called Spendefy.comIt's a Black business promotion site along with a Black Business Directory.  The directory is currently for New York and Atlanta.

What makes the web site different is the design quality and graphics. They have a great visual appeal. has a cohesive and consistent design lots of graphics and photos. The interface is easy to use.  It's also easy to find what you want. is also loaded with great photos that catch your eye. Thanks to WordPress, the site  also has a full set of modern tools that are typically available on a mainstream web site. And the usually links to social media.

Sprinkled through out the site are news stories, interviews, and advice. One credit mentioned on the site is a photographer Enrique Morgan: Designer. We want to spotlight his web-site because it gives you an idea of what typical photography in the creative industry does. He does mostly web stuff and content not photography. has also received some press coverage.

MadameNoire has a story here.

CNN Interview is here. show what a great creative team can do with a good web site development tool

We also wanted to look at one aspect of the web site that is usually not covered: Web Technology. We used public source information and reviewed the content of the individual web pages on the site.

The site is primarily a WordPress site. The site,, really shows how far web-site development tools have evolved. We went through the whole web-site and there is not a lot of content or business listings yet. But they do have the key players in the New York Resturant market. 

There are several tools that will analyze the public HTML tags and codes of a website.  We sed and also looked at code in the browser->tools->developer section of chrome. 

Builtwith reports

Web Server:                      Apache (assumed at Godaddy)
Hosting, Domani                Godaddy
Email                                Godaddy
Content Management         Word Press
E-commerce                     WooCommerce
Ads                                  Double-Click (not clear if there are any actual ads)
Analytics and Reporting     Google

We have not tried the site on android or iphone.

Overall a very nice site. 

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