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Latest from BLS



Economic News Releases

Mass Layoffs (Monthly)

March 20, 2009
In February, employers took 2,769 mass layoff actions involving 295,477 workers. Mass layoff events increased by 542 from January, and initial claims increased by 57,575. Layoff events for all industries and for the manufacturing sector rose to their highest levels on record. Thirty states reached program highs in average weekly initial claims. Full Text »

Employment Situation of Veterans

March 20, 2009
The unemployment rate for the 22.4 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces was 4.6 percent in 2008. The jobless rate for the nearly 1.7 million men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces since September 2001 was 7.3 percent. Full Text »



Latest Numbers

Consumer Price Index (CPI):
+0.4% in Feb 2009
News Release News Release
Historical Data Historical Data

Unemployment Rate:
8.1% in Feb 2009
News Release News Release
Historical Data Historical Data

Payroll Employment:
-651,000(p) in Feb 2009
News Release News Release
Historical Data Historical Data

Average Hourly Earnings:
+$0.03(p) in Feb 2009
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Historical Data Historical Data

Producer Price Index (PPI):
+0.1%(p) in Feb 2009
News Release News Release
Historical Data Historical Data

Employment Cost Index (ECI):
+0.5% in 4th Qtr of 2008
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Historical Data Historical Data

-0.4% in 4th Qtr of 2008
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Historical Data Historical Data

U.S. Import Price Index:
-0.2% in Feb 2009
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Historical Data Historical Data

p– preliminary




BLS Data By Geography

State Homepages

Alabama | Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | Mississippi | North Carolina | South Carolina | Tennessee


Southeast United States (find other states at:)



Employment Situation Summary

Technical information:
  Household data:      (202) 691-6378     USDL 09-0224

  Establishment data:  (202) 691-6555     Transmission of material in this release
              http://www.bls.gov/ces/     is embargoed until 8:30 A.M. (EST),
Media contact:         (202) 691-5902     Friday, March 6, 2009.


   Nonfarm payroll employment continued to fall sharply in February (-651,000), 
and the unemployment rate rose from 7.6 to 8.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor 
Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  Payroll employ-
ment has declined by 2.6 million in the past 4 months.  In February, job 
losses were large and widespread across nearly all major industry sectors.

Unemployment (Household Survey Data)

   The number of unemployed persons increased by 851,000 to 12.5 million in 
February, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent.  Over the past 12 
months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by about 5.0 million, 
and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.3 percentage points.  (See table 

   The unemployment rate continued to trend upward in February for adult 
men (8.1 percent), adult women (6.7 percent), whites (7.3 percent), blacks 
(13.4 percent), and Hispanics (10.9 percent).  The jobless rate for teen-
agers was little changed at 21.6 percent.  The unemployment rate for Asians 
was 6.9 percent in February, not seasonally adjusted.  (See tables A-1, A-2, 
and A-3.)

   Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed 
temporary jobs increased by 716,000 to 7.7 million in February.  This mea-
sure has grown by 3.8 million in the last 12 months.  (See table A-8.)

   The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) 
increased by 270,000 to 2.9 million in February.  Over the past 12 months, 
the number of long-term unemployed was up by 1.6 million.  (See table A-9.)



U.S. Unemployment Rate Forecast

Current Economic Indicators. March 20, 2009 (Close of Day). Indicator. Value. Inflation %, 0.07. GDP Growth %, -6.40. Unemployment %, 8.10
forecasts.org/unemploy.htm – 15k


Bureau of Labor Statistics Data

Data extracted on: March 23, 2009 (11:06:35 AM). Labor Force Statistics from the Current Labor force status: Unemployment rate. Type of data: Percent
data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet?data_tool=latest_numbers&series_id=LNS14000000 – 24k

March 23, 2009 Graph of Unemployment Statistics –

Bureau of Labor Statistics

(Includes chart of percentages – which are not entirely accurate – from 1999)



18 metros post jobless rates above 10%

Mar 20, 2009

Eighteen of the nation’s 100 largest labor markets now have unemployment rates of 10 percent or more, according to a US Bureau of Labor Statistics report

Bizjournals.com309 related articles »

Unemployment Chart March 2009

Unemployment Chart March 2009



Mortgage defaults, foreclosures spreading
Record 5.4 million Americans either behind or in foreclosure at end of 2008

updated 12:05 p.m. ET, Thurs., March. 5, 2009
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NEW YORK – A stunning 48 percent of the nation’s homeowners who have a subprime, adjustable-rate mortgage are behind on their payments or in foreclosure, and that’s not the worst of it, new data Thursday showed.

The reckless lending practices in states like Florida, California and Nevada that were the epicenter of the housing crisis are no longer driving up the nation’s delinquency rate. Instead, the foreclosure crisis now is being fueled by a spike in defaults in states like Louisiana, New York, Georgia and Texas, where the economies are rapidly deteriorating and thousands are losing their jobs.

A record 5.4 million American homeowners with a mortgage of any kind, or nearly 12 percent, were at least one month late or in foreclosure at the end of last year, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported. That’s up from 10 percent at the end of the third quarter, and up from 8 percent at the end of 2007.

[ . . . ]

Government officials, launching the “Making Home Affordable” program also acknowledge that the initiatives are only a partial fix for a sweeping problem that has helped plunge the U.S. economy into the worst recession in decades. In fact, tens of thousands of homeowners in some of the most battered real estate markets — concentrated in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona — won’t be eligible for the two programs.

[and more . . . ]



February’s Top 10 Foreclosure States
Maurna Desmond, 03.12.09, 12:01 AM EDT
After months of state bans on foreclosures, falling homes prices and rising unemployment are once again fueling bank repossessions.

After months of declines in the number of foreclosures despite rising mortgage defaults, with a barricade of state and lender moratoriums preventing repossessions, foreclosures rose 6% in February from the month before, with 209,631 filings in all, according to Irvine, Calif.-based data firm RealtyTrac. Compared to the corresponding month a year ago, foreclosures were up 30%.

This was highly surprising considering there were foreclosure moratoriums in place at the four largest U.S. banks–Citigroup (nyse: C news people ), JPMorgan Chase (nyse: JPM news people ), Bank of America (nyse: BAC news people ) and Wells Fargo (nyse: WFC news people )–which service 55.0% of mortgages. Government-controlled mortgage giants Freddie Mac (nyse: FRE news people ) and Fannie Mae (nyse: FNM news people ) have halted activity as well, and they own or guarantee half of all U.S. mortgage debt.

While these banks may have stopped some foreclosures, recently expired state bans and exhausted delays resulted in a flood of actions. Such was the case in Florida and New York, where there were increases of 14% and 23% from the month before, respectively.

More important than failed policies may be changing realities: Rising unemployment has begun spurring bank repossessions. States that never had a housing boom to speak of, such as Illinois, Oregon, and Idaho, are now among the 10 states with the highest rates of foreclosure. These states had January jobless rates of 7.9%, 9.9% and 6.6%, respectively, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday.

The unemployment rate in the United States has continued to climb due to the deepening recession, hitting 8.1% in February. Continued layoffs are expected to fuel the wave of foreclosures. (See “America’s New Housing Problem: Unemployment”)

However, the fallout from the subprime mortgage mess continues to be felt as borrowers’ home prices fall and their earnings diminish. More than three-quarters of foreclosure-related activity in February, or 224,616 actions, took place in 10 subprime-scourged states, with California, Florida and Arizona accounting for 144,000 of these reports on their own.

Sunbelt metro areas like Las Vegas, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., and Nevada’s Reno-Sparks had the highest rates of foreclosure, with one in every 60 housing units at some point in the foreclosure process. In overbuilt Phoenix, it’s one in every 110. Six of the 10 cities with the highest foreclosure rates were in California, including Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Riverside-San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and Vallejo-Fairfield.



and a state by state details of the top ten foreclosure states February 2009 –



Mortgage Defaults Go Large
Peter C. Beller, 03.19.09, 11:37 PM EDT
Moody’s says ‘jumbo’ mortgages will suffer bigger than expected losses.

The conventional wisdom used to be that well-off people with good credit buy big houses and rarely lose them to financial troubles. Now even the wealthy are starting to default on their mortgages, and the owners of a quarter-trillion dollars in bonds backed by their loans could suffer dearly.

Credit-rating agency Moody’s (nyse: MCO news people ) said Thursday it expects much bigger losses on so-called “jumbo” mortgages than its previous forecasts. The big loans, typically over $417,000 and reserved for people with good credit, were packaged into bonds, sliced into different risk categories and sold to banks and institutional investors. Moody’s says it will downgrade many of the bonds and that junior issues, which absorb defaults before the senior ones, will probably be worth nothing.

The estimated losses reflect how much people paid for their homes at the time. For 2005, Moody’s says losses will reach 1.7%, rising to 5.1% for loans made in 2007 and 6.2% for the 2008 vintage. Moody’s says it will review, and possibly downgrade, bonds backed by $241 billion of jumbo mortgages. Some of the most senior, and safest, slices will keep their investment-grade ratings, which is important since many institutional investors restrict their holdings to only those with high ratings. But the fate of bondholders is tied to when the securities were created. Seven out of 10 senior bonds from 2005 will stay investment-grade compared to only 20% for the 2007 batch, Moody’s said.

For jumbo loans that go into default, Moody’s estimates investors will suffer losses of 40% of the mortgage’s original value. To make matters worse, the agency said, its economists expect home prices to drop another 11% by the end of the year and unemployment to top out at 9.8%.



When will the pain end?
California Foreclosure Watch (Q4 2008 data)
By Rani Isaac, March 15, 2009, for the Assembly Banking & Finance Committee

The pain will not end until 2010. In a February briefing in San Francisco, Moody’s Economy.com Chief Economist Mark Zandi presented a timeline for the recovery of the economy. The following dates are milestones to gauge whether his forecast is accurate. He discussed details of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA 2009), signed into law by President Barack Obama, and factored them into his forecast.
• Stock Market Bottom: between Q4 08 and Q1 2009
• Home sales bottom: end of Q1 09
• Housing starts bottom: end of Q2 09
• House prices bottom: end of Q3 09
• Foreclosures peak: end of Q4 09
• Employment losses bottom out: Q1 2010
• Jobless rate peaks: Q2 2010
• Extraordinary writedowns end: start of Q3 2010
• Housing prices resume rising: second half of 2010
The stock market indicator is already looking unlikely, so the forecast timeline may be lengthened. Nonetheless, Zandi’s timeline is a useful guide for the state and nation on a long road to recovery. Until job losses abate and home prices stabilize, it will be hard to find the bottom of the cycle. Declines in income that come with job loss and loss of wealth, particularly in stock and other assets, contribute to defaults.1

[ . . . ]

Zandi assumes mortgage defaults will be increasing at a decreasing rate through much of 2009 and that moratoriums will just delay the inevitable adjustment. Nationally, while defaults rose throughout the final months of 2008, foreclosures may have dropped in the final quarter or in the early months of 2009. Frederick Furlong of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank says, that for the nation, it is possible new foreclosures in 2009 could be somewhat below the 2.25 million in 2008, but still remain quite high.3 However, for the state in 2009, Furlong expects foreclosures to remain quite elevated. He expects further deterioration in the performance of mortgage loans and further softening of housing markets since prime loans and jumbo loans have had rising delinquencies.

3 Moody’s Economy.com Feb. 2009 report – Housing in Crisis lists foreclosure sales at 1.4 million in 2008. Projections from Economy.com are based on proprietary analysis of data from Equifax (a credit and data collection bureau) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). They differ from sources used by Furlong (Group Vice President, Financial & Regional, SF Federal Reserve).
California Research Bureau 􀂊 900 N Street, Suite 300 􀂊 Sacramento, CA 95814 􀂊 (916) 651-2743 􀂊 http://www.library.ca.gov/crb

FSources: Data Quick, Projections from CRB based on US forecast from Moody’s Economy.com

Nationally, around four percent of all borrowers have loans that exceed conforming limits, according to an estimate by First American CoreLogic, but in California, that share is 17 percent. 4

[see chart]

The latest CRB estimate of California foreclosures is 1.1 million for the “cycle” or period 2007-2012.6 As lenders give cash bonuses of up to $1500 for those who are in default to mail back the keys and as lenders extend more principal forbearance in the form of short sales, some 300,000 additional units will be lost or surrendered. Total “lost” homes will therefore reach 1.4 million. In either Q3 or Q4 of 2009, foreclosures will peak and the cycle will begin to wind down in response to the measures the President, Federal Reserve Board, various federal agencies, and Congress are taking to address the crisis.7



4 A jumbo loan exceeds the maximum borrowing (conforming) limit for loans guaranteed or secured by a government agency. Jumbo mortgages are taken out in high-cost areas of the country such as Washington D.C., New York, Hawaii, and coastal California when Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC) limits do not cover the full loan amount. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase the bulk of residential mortgages in the U.S., but set conforming limits ($417,000 as of 2006) on the maximum dollar value of any mortgage, which they will purchase from an individual lender. Other large investors, such as insurance companies and banks offer jumbo loans. In February 2008, President Bush signed an economic stimulus package that temporarily increased the limit to $729,750, allowing Fannie and Freddie to buy existing jumbo loans from lenders and help to unlock the capital markets.
5 The foreclosure data does not include short sales or deeds in lieu of foreclosure. Many more homes may be “lost” by these other two routes. Data may also not capture bulk sales by lenders.
6 These estimates are based on Moody’s Economy.com Feb. 2009 report –Housing in Crisis. Nationwide, 5.4 million homes will be lost in 2008-2011 to foreclosure and total losses reach 6.7 million. Short sales and deeds surrendered in lieu of foreclosure (mailing back the keys), will amount to about 1.3 million. California had 21.7 percent of all the riskiest loans (Alt-A and Subprime), as of December 2007. The previous estimates were based on Moody’s Economy.com July 2008 report.
7 Federal agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) continue to ease the crisis and promote forbearance by setting standards as lenders or administrators of foreclosure workouts. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also undergoing transformation as the Federal Reserve takes a more active role in their operations.