Unemployment improves in a number of vulnerable housing markets

In the wake of the recession, many states reported unemployment rates in double digits.

In the wake of the recession, many states reported unemployment rates in double digits. However, as the national job market builds momentum, the number of these states has dropped to a new post-recession low.

According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were only three states to hold these high rates in February, including Nevada at 12.3 percent, Rhode Island at 11 percent and California at 10.9 percent.

As a result of the high unemployment rate after the housing market collapse, these states, especially Nevada and California, recorded record-high foreclosure rates recently. As the local economies improve, providing more jobs to prospective borrowers, it could give these households could receive the financial safety and soundness they need to qualify for home loans.

Due to economic hardships in these two key states, RealtyTrac reports that in February one in every 283 properties were in some stage of foreclosure process, while the ratio in Nevada stood at one in every 278.

While this can viewed as negative for current homeowners in these areas, for entry-level homebuyers, the availability of distressed properties has made the prospect of purchasing a home much more affordable.   

The unemployment rates in California and Nevada are now each roughly 2 percent below where they were at their peak. However, during the course of 2011, government data indicates that California created an estimated 127,300 jobs - the most in the country. In contrast, the unemployment rate in Nevada remained stagnant during the same period, but state officials report the loss of approximately 12,800 jobs in February from the beginning of 2012.  

Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate continues to make great strides. Last, the rate stood at 8.3 percent. While this high level is still troubling to a number of industry experts, it is a significant gain from February 2011 when the unemployment rate was 9 percent. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that on an annual basis, six states were dropped from the list of states with double-digit unemployment rates, including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon and South Carolina. Only three states have jobless rates in double digits.

As the job market builds momentum, it could result in more confidence among American consumers, causing a slow, but steady, rebound of the housing industry.

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