Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Last In Beating Recession

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the race to climb out of recession, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area is dead last among the 100 largest urban areas nationwide.

That is the finding in a recent “Metro Monitor” study by The Brookings Institution that tracked the economic performance of 100 metropolitan areas on four indicators: jobs, unemployment, output (gross product) and house prices. The analysis focused on the change of the indicators during three time periods: the recession, recovery and a combination of both.

During the recovery period, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ranked 100, or last, trailing Little Rock, Ark., (99) and Greater Hartford, Conn. (98).

“In terms of recovery, it has been pretty slow” for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, said Siddharth Kulkarni, a research assistant in Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-w-b-last-in-beating-recession-1.1667766

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Foreclosure Activity Surges Across Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regional foreclosures advanced at the state’s highest percentage among metropolitan areas in 2013.

Property repossessions, home auction notices and mortgage default activity in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area soared by 60 percent, compared to 2012, according RealtyTrac, a Los Angeles-area company that tracks national foreclosure trends.

Foreclosures climbed in the area during all four quarters of the year and the annual increase was largest proportionately among state metro areas, RealtyTrac data show. York’s 32 percent increase was the second-largest jump.

The region experienced eight straight quarters of foreclosure declines before activity accelerated in the first quarter of 2013.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/business/foreclosure-activity-surges-across-region-1.1619761

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U.S. Unemployment Falls To 7%

WASHINGTON - A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate in November to a five-year low of 7 percent. The surprisingly robust job gain suggested that the economy may have begun to accelerate.

It also fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve will scale back its economic stimulus when it meets later this month.

Employers added 203,000 jobs last month after adding 200,000 in October, the Labor Department said Friday. November’s job gain helped lower the unemployment rate from 7.3 percent in October.

The economy has now generated a four-month average of 204,000 jobs from August through November. That’s up from 159,000 a month from April through July.

5 Cities Where The Housing Bust Won’t Let Go

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Allentown also made the list :(

No. 4 lagging market: Philadelphia
Score:
 82.7

Homebuyers aren’t showing the Philadelphia metro area much brotherly love, with the market trailing U.S. averages in almost every metric that RealtyTrac looked at.

Blomquist says Philadelphia housing is doing a particularly bad job of attracting institutional investors, defined in the study as any company or individual who buys 10 or more properties a year anywhere in America.

RealtyTrac found that such buyers account for just 3% of property deals in Philadelphia, compared with 9% nationwide. “Philadelphia is a market that institutional investors are just not very interested in.”

Philly has also seen a sub-par 32% decline in foreclosure filings, while median home prices have rebounded only a below-average 16% from their March 2012 bottom.

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/philly/story/5-cities-where-the-housing-bust-wont-let-go-0/1

Richest 7 Percent Got Richer During Recovery, Report Says

English: Map of the United States.

English: Map of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The richest Americans got richer during the first two years of the economic recovery while average net worth declined for the other 93 percent of U.S. households, says a report released today.

The upper 7 percent of households owned 63 percent of the nation’s total household wealth in 2011, up from 56 percent in 2009, said the report from the Pew Research Center, which analyzed new Census Bureau data released last month.

The main reason for the widening wealth gap is that affluent households typically own stocks and other financial holdings that increased in value, while the less wealthy tend to have more of their assets in their homes, which haven’t rebounded from the plunge in home values, the report said.

Tuesday’s report is the latest to point up financial inequality that has been growing among Americans for decades, a development that helped fuel the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=471710

Jobs Returning To The Lehigh Valley, Slowly

Lehigh Valley workers were hit harder by the recession and recovered more slowly from the damage than those in many comparable urban areas.

That finding and a slew of others are included in the fifth annual State of the Lehigh Valley research study that was rolled out Thursday at Lehigh University by the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium and Renew Lehigh Valley.

Researchers Christopher Ruebeck and Jamila Bookwala, who led the presentation, ran down regional employment figures between 2006 and 2012, finding that the Lehigh Valley’s job market held its own prior to the recession, comparing favorably with similar metro areas, with the nation as a whole and with our neighbors in New Jersey.

But the Valley’s unemployment rate rose more than comparable metro areas during the Great Recession, and those jobs have come back more slowly than in many comparable areas or the state or nation as a whole.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-lehigh-valley-jobs-20130228,0,7642549.story

Vignettes Of Black Friday

With promotions, discounts and doorbusters already well under way on Thanksgiving Day itself, many big-box retailers are making Black Friday stretch longer than ever.  The Lede is checking out the mood of American consumers in occasional vignettes Thursday and Friday as the economically critical holiday shopping season kicks off.

Shoppers waiting outside Sam’s Club in Eagan, Minn., for Friday’s 7 a.m. opening clung to free Starbuck’s Holiday Blend coffee as they endured freezing temperatures and biting winds and collected brightly colored vouchers for laptops and big-screen TVs.

The biggest draw: a 96-cent Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone.  Once inside, they also beelined for tickets for the 63 Samsungs in stock, which sold out shortly after the store opened.  Customers could make an appointment for later in the day or another day to purchase the phone, choosing from three carriers, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint.

“O.K., this is my last blue for Sprint,” an employee called out at 7:08 a.m.

Read more:  http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/coverage-of-black-friday/?hp

New Jersey Unemployment Rate At 9.8 Percent, Highest Since 1977

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  By comparison, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for July 2012 was 7.9%.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate rose in July for the fourth month in a row to 9.8 percent, a record high since 1977, according to data released by the state Department of Labor on Thursday.

July’s jobless rate in the Garden State was up from 9.6 percent in June and from 9.4 percent in July 2011, the preliminary numbers showed.

Democrats seized on the data to blast Republican Governor Chris Christie‘s self-proclaimed “comeback” for New Jersey.

“There is no way to interpret this other than bad,” said New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, in a statement. “What I want to see is this administration admit it is failing in terms of getting people back to work.”

 Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-nj-unemployment-rate-20120816,0,1446508.story

PhillyInc: Reports See Slow Recovery For Philadephia Area

English: Philadelphia skyline

English: Philadelphia skyline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The construction cranes that now dot Philadelphia are a welcome sign that some business is getting done, but the steel structures tend to distract the eye from the local economy’s challenges closer to the ground.

The latest quarterly reading of Select Greater Philadelphia‘s leading economic indicators points to mid-2014 as the earliest point when employment in the 11-county region will return to its prerecession level.

A separate analysis of the Philadelphia market by PNC Financial Services Group Inc. recently concluded that the region will continue to lag behind the nation in economic growth, job growth, and income growth.

What’s going on here? Don’t we have an emerging entrepreneurial tech community, a growing business professional services sector, and an enviable cluster of top-notch higher education and health-care institutions?

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20120810_PhillyInc__Reports_see_slow_recovery_for_Phila__area.html#ixzz23AG6vpUA
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Feeble U.S. Job Growth Stokes Fears of Global Slowdown

For a third year, the economic recovery in the United States is floundering, stoking fears of a global slowdown as the European crisis escalates.

Last month, the nation’s employers added the fewest jobs in a year and the unemployment rate actually rose, the Labor Department reported Friday. May was not a fluke either. It was the third consecutive month of disappointing results.

The weakening recovery is a serious vulnerability for President Obama as he faces re-election and it provides traction to his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, who says the administration has not done enough to strengthen the economy. Because Washington remains deeply divided over how best to stimulate growth, the report increases the  pressure on the Federal Reserve to take further action on its own.

The United States gained a net 69,000 jobs in May, for an average of 96,000 over each of the last three months. That is down from a 245,000 gain on average from December through February. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent in May from 8.1 in April, though largely because more people began looking for work. And there was more bad news: job gains that had been reported in March and April were revised downward.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/02/business/economy/us-added-69000-jobs-in-may-jobless-rate-at-8-2.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper