Job. No job. That remains the bright line dividing Minnesotans who are feeling an economic recovery and those who aren't.
The phenomenon can be seen in all kinds of economic data, including the latest report from the Minnesota Housing Partnership.
The Partnership's third quarter report on the state's housing market finds pre-foreclosure notices rising and a tightening rental market through the three months that ended in September.
Check out the key graphs below (click on them for a larger view).
The report isn't all bad news. Mortgage delinquencies fell for the third straight quarter "signaling that fewer foreclosures may be fewer ahead."
Overall, though, it's a picture of an economy still trying to find its footing.
The rental market tightness, for instance, is likely from ex-homeowners who've lost their homes in the housing crisis. Employment in the state's construction market continues to languish, with the "fewest jobs in the sector since 1993 for the time of year." And the number of homeless children in the Twin Cities is up from the same period last year.
"Taken together," the report notes, "these trends suggest that the holiday season may be brighter for some families with reliable earnings, while others face continued hardship with persistent unemployment and ongoing foreclosures."
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis recently declared "optimism is back" as it released its 2011 economic forecast for the Upper Midwest with forecasts for expected income and employment growth.
The Fed, though, acknowledged that job growth rates, "are expected to exceed 2010 rates in all areas except Minnesota, where the pace of employment growth will remain the same."
If the region's sputtering job creation continues, it'll cause more collateral problems in the housing market, widening the divide between the recovery's haves and have-nots.
"Optimism is back" only for those with either a short term objective or short term memory. From here out, every time the economy begins to recover energy demand will rise and prices will rise to damp the recovery. We are on waffling peak of oil production and as soon as production begins to fall prices will rise steeply and our oil-based economy will collapse for good.