Are We “Vastly Better Off Than We Were” Pre-Lehman?

“We feel like this market still has some room to move higher,” said Burt White, chief investment officer at LPL Financial in Boston, which oversees $259 billion. “We’re still at levels that are lower than we were before Lehman Brothers. We are vastly better off than we were then.”



Are we really “vastly better off than we were then?”  Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg (via Barron’s) looks at the details and concludes not one tiny bit:

Since Lehman, we have lost 6.2 million jobs;

The unemployment rate is 10.2% now, versus 6.2% the day before Lehman collapse;

Real gross domestic product is still down 3% since the summer of 2008;

Housing starts are down 30%;

Auto sales are down 23%;

Bank credit has contracted by $500 billion, or 8%;

Household net worth is down $7 trillion;

Home prices are down an average of 10%;

Office-vacancy rates are up 3.5 percentage points, to 17.2%;

Apartment-vacancy rates are up a percentage point to 11.1%;

Consumer confidence is down 11 points;

The budget deficit has tripled;

If this is “vastly better off,” I shudder to think what “worse off” would look like. . .


Long Way for Nothing
Barron’s NOVEMBER 23, 2009

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