Three things I learned this week

1.) That second wave of mortgage and foreclosures we’ve been worried about for months is close to hitting.

We’re through the worst of the mortgage crisis. But that doesn’t mean we’re done. “Exhibit A” may be this map from Minnesota Housing Finance Agency illustrating non-prime adjustable rate mortgages still to reset:


Thanks to the Minnesota Home Ownership Center for pointing it out to us.

We’re particularly interested in those dark blotches in Crow Wing and Cass counties. We’re planning a deeper look at what that’s about.

Are those the really nice lake homes built when the economy was great and may be in danger of foreclosure when the loan resets and the monthly payments are recast?

If you know something about housing and home loans in that region, tell us what you’re seeing.

2.) We really need to pay attention to the talks on a new nurses contract.

It’s really flying under the radar at this point, but the formal negotiations have begun on a new contract between 12,000 nurses and six hospital systems in the Twin Cities. The current deal ends May 31.

I can’t imagine a nurses strike given the lousy economy and the flux in the nation’s health care system. But it worries me.

The Minnesota Nurses Association notes: “The last time there was a large-scale RN strike in Minnesota was summer 1984, when 6,000 nurses walked off the job for 35 days. It remains the largest RN strike in U.S. history.”

So that strike happened about a year and a half after the early ’80s recession bottomed out in November 1982.

Experts tell us the economy has already bottomed out in the recession and while we don’t have an exact date, the economic timing of the ’84 strike and a potential 2010 strike is eerily similar.

One source in MPR’s Public Insight Network pointed out to me earlier this week that we may see a generation gap form in the current talks between older nurses who see pension benefits as a huge contract issue and younger nurses who don’t believe they’ll ever see much of a pension anyway and won’t strike over it.

If you have any thoughts on this or just want to talk about the nurse contract talks generally, drop me a line.

3.) Six word recession? Grace under pressure.

More than 200 of you shared your recession experiences in (mostly) six words. And they were great. Thank you.

I’ll be reaching out to many of you in the coming weeks to see if you’ll share a bit more of your story. That’s what MinnEcon’s all about.

If you haven’t sent in your story, take 2 minutes and sum up your recession.

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