I thought this review of unemployment in Lancaster, the state and nationally would be timely given my upcoming set of articles on the state of home sales and the real estate market outlook. Here's a chart showing the historical trends:
You'll notice right away that the Pennsylvania unemployment rate very closely tracks with the national unemployment rate. In 2009 you can see that the national rate is leaping up & away as other states (such as Nevada and Michigan) jump into the middle teen rates for unemployment.
Lancaster County has historically tracked about two percentage points below the state and nation but you can see that the gap has closed in recent years. We're getting hit with the same big spike in 2009 and are at all but 8% right now. The national rate is approaching 10%.
Here's the definition of "unemployed" that is commonly used. Keep in mind, by this definition people who are not actively looking for work are NOT COUNTED - that includes folks who have given up the search for the time being and those who are underemployed (not earning enough to support themselves). The actual percentage may run into the high teens...
Why am I talking about this? I've been doing homework on our future market here in Lancaster County and the impact that foreclosures will have in driving down prices. I beleive there's a whole new wave of foreclosures coming this winter and into 2010. If you're like me you're probably talking to people who are just about to lose their house (or voluntarily give it up - we'll talk about that). The unemployment situation is a root cause of all this.
Look for my next article on the develping story of mortgage delinquincies and the failure of "loan modifications".