Recession's impact: US census data show longer commutes, delayed marriage, fewer immigrants
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The recession is profoundly disrupting American life: More people are delaying marriage and home-buying, turning to carpools yet stuck in ever-worse traffic, staying put rather than moving to a new city.
A broad array of U.S. census data, for release on Tuesday, also shows a dip in the foreign-born population last year, to under 38 million after it reached an all-time high in 2007. This was due to declines in low-skilled workers from Mexico searching for jobs in the states of Arizona, Florida and California.
Health coverage varied widely by region, based partly on levels of unemployment. Massachusetts, with its universal coverage law, had fewer than one in 20 uninsured residents -- the lowest in the nation. Texas had the highest share, at one in four, largely because of illegal Hispanic immigrants excluded from government-sponsored and employer-provided plans.
Demographers said the latest figures were striking confirmation of the social impact of the economic decline as it hit home in 2008. Findings come from the annual American Community Survey, a sweeping look at life built on information from 3 million households.
Preliminary data earlier this year found that many Americans were not moving, staying put in big cities rather than migrating to Sunbelt states because of frozen lines of credit. Mobility is at a 60-year low, upending population trends ahead of the 2010 census that will be used to apportion House seats.
"The recession has affected everybody in one way or another as families use lots of different strategies to cope with a new economic reality," said Mark Mather, associate vice president of the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau. "Job loss -- or the potential for job loss -- also leads to feelings of economic insecurity and can create social tension."
"It's just the tip of the iceberg," he said, noting that unemployment is still rising.
The percentage of people who drove alone to work dropped last year to 75.5 percent, the lowest in a decade, as commuters grew weary of paying close to $4 a gallon for gasoline and opted to carpool or take public transportation.
Twenty-two states had declines in solo drivers compared with the year before, with the rest statistically unchanged. The decreases were particularly evident in states with higher traffic congestion, such as Maryland, Texas and Washington.
Average commute times edged up to 25.5 minutes, erasing years of decreases to stand at the level of 2000, as people had to leave home earlier in the morning to pick up friends for their ride to work or to catch a bus or subway train.
Nationwide, more than one in eight workers, or 17.5 million, were out the door by 6 a.m.
Marital bliss also suffered. Nearly one in three Americans 15 and over, or 31.2 percent, reported they had never been married, the highest level in a decade. The share had previously hovered for years around 27 percent, before beginning to climb during the housing downturn in 2006.
The never-married included three-quarters of men in their 20s and two-thirds of women in that age range. Sociologists say younger people are taking longer to reach economic independence and consider marriage, because they are struggling to find work or focusing on an advanced education.
The dip in foreign-born residents comes as the government considers immigration changes, including stepped-up border enforcement and a path toward U.S. citizenship. At nearly 38 million, immigrants made up 12.5 percent of the population in 2008; an estimated 11.9 million are here illegally.
In three large metro area, Miami, San Jose, California, and Los Angeles, more than one-third of all residents are foreign-born.
Roughly half the states showed declines in the number of immigrants from 2007 to 2008. Major metro areas also posted decreases, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Detroit and Tampa, Florida. An influx of workers from India, who came looking for specialized jobs in telecommunications, manufacturing, computers and software, partially offset the national immigration decrease.
About one in five U.S. residents spoke a language other than English at home, mostly clustered in California, New Mexico and Texas.
Associated Press writers Frank Bass in East Dover, Vermont, Calvin Woodward in Washington and Mike Schneider in Orlando contributed to this report.
SEC going to trial against BofA over Merrill bonuses; bank also exits loss guarantee deal
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday it will go to trial against Bank of America Corp. over billions of dollars in bonuses paid at Merrill Lynch, which the bank acquired in a hastily arranged deal a year ago at the height of the financial crisis.
The SEC said it will "vigorously pursue" its case against Bank of America, opening the possibility that bank executives could also face charges. The bank said it will "vigorously defend" itself.
Monday's announcement by the SEC came after a federal judge last week threw out a $33 million proposed settlement of the case.
The agency has accused BofA of failing to disclose to shareholders that it had authorized Merrill to pay up to $5.8 billion in bonuses to its employees in 2008 even though the investment bank lost $27.6 billion that year.
Separately Monday, Bank of America reached an agreement with the government to exit an arrangement under which public funds might have been used to shoulder losses on risky assets from the Merrill Lynch takeover.
BofA agreed to pay $425 million to government agencies, including the Treasury Department, to get out of the deal, part of a broader effort by the bank to unwind various forms of government support. Charlotte, North Carolina-based BofA has been one of the largest benefactors of the government's financial rescue program, receiving a total of $45 billion from the taxpayer-financed $700 billion financial bailout program.
The loss-guarantee arrangement covered $118 billion in risky assets Bank of America acquired in the Merrill Lynch deal. It was never used, but the government has argued that the bank benefited from the promise of protection.
The SEC has been weighing its options in its case involving disclosure of the Merrill bonuses since U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff called the proposed settlement a breach of "justice and morality," rebuked the agency for not pursuing charges against individual Bank of America executives, and ordered a trial. The SEC could have also tried try to renegotiate the accord with Bank of America.
Both the SEC and BofA have defended the earlier settlement proposal as appropriate. However Rakoff had questioned why individual executives at Bank of America weren't charged, and said the settlement unfairly penalized shareholders.
The SEC said in a statement Monday it could seek to bring additional charges if supported by the record of evidence that develops in the trial, meaning that it could seek to charge individual executives.
Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri said its position "continues to be that the (disclosure document) met all legal requirements."
"We intend to vigorously defend ourselves in court," Silvestri said in a statement.
BofA had agreed to pay the $33 million settlement without admitting or denying wrongdoing. The bank has said it didn't violate disclosure rules but wanted to avoid litigation with the SEC at a time of market uncertainty.
Rakoff, in his ruling, found that the settlement "suggests a rather cynical relationship between the parties."
"The SEC gets to claim that it is exposing wrongdoing on the part of the Bank of America in a high-profile merger, the bank's management gets to claim that they have been coerced into an onerous settlement by overzealous regulators. And all this is done at the expense, not only of the shareholders, but also of the truth," he wrote.
The SEC lawsuit comes as Bank of America faces pressure from other fronts. The New York Attorney General's office is doing its own investigation into the Merrill Lynch deal and has been drafting what are likely to be civil fraud charges against top bank executives in the coming weeks.
Also, the bank missed a noon deadline Monday to provide additional information about the Merrill Lynch deal to a congressional committee.
Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns and chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told the bank in a letter Friday that it was hiding behind attorney-client privilege, which Congress can refuse to recognize during its investigations. Silvestri declined to comment on whether or not the bank turned over documents by the Monday deadline but said a senior bank executive would meet with Towns on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
BofA also said Monday it had appointed Charles "Chad" Holliday Jr., who is also the board chairman E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., to its board of directors. Seven directors have resigned from Bank of America's board since shareholders replaced the bank's chairman in April.
AP Economics Writer Jeannine Aversa in Washington and AP Business Writer Stephen Bernard in New York contributed to this story.
42 states lose jobs in August, up from 29 in July; biggest cuts in Texas, Mich., Ga., Ohio
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Forty-two states lost jobs last month, up from 29 in July, with the biggest net payroll cuts coming in Texas, Michigan, Georgia and Ohio.
AP - In this Sept. 10, 2009 photo, job hunters wait in line to meet with recruiters at a job ...
The Labor Department also reported Friday that 27 states saw their unemployment rates increase in August, and 14 states and Washington D.C., reported unemployment rates of 10 percent or above.
The report shows jobs remain scarce even as most analysts believe the economy is pulling out of the worst recession since the 1930s. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said earlier this week that the recovery isn't likely to be rapid enough to reduce unemployment for some time.
The jobless rate nationwide is expected to peak above 10 percent next year, from its current 9.7 percent.
"You are seeing the pace of job losses slow a little bit," said Mike Lynch, a regional economist at IHS Global Insight. But states "are not out of the woods yet."
The United States lost 216,000 jobs in August, the department said earlier this month, down from 276,000 in July. Employers have eliminated 6.9 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007.
Texas lost 62,200 jobs as its unemployment rate rose to 8 percent in August for the first time in 22 years. The state's leisure, construction and manufacturing industries were hardest hit, losing 35,500 jobs.
Michigan saw 42,900 jobs disappear, including 25,000 in manufacturing, as the state continued to suffer along with its struggling auto industry.
Michigan's unemployment rate rose to 15.2 percent, the highest in the nation. When its jobless rate topped 15 percent in June it was the first time any state surpassed that mark since 1984.
Most economists project Michigan's jobless rate will continue to rise. The University of Michigan estimates it will average 15.8 percent in 2010.
Nevada has the second-highest rate at 13.2 percent, followed by Rhode Island at 12.8 percent and California and Oregon at 12.2 percent each.
The jobless rates in California, Nevada and Rhode Island were the highest on records dating to 1976. California and Nevada have been slammed by the housing bust, while Rhode Island has lost thousands of manufacturing and government jobs in the past year.
Still, California's net loss of 12,000 jobs was down from 35,000 the previous month. From November 2008 through June, the state lost at least 65,000 jobs each month, said Jerry Nickelsburg, a senior economist with the Anderson Forecast at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Georgia and Ohio reported the third and fourth-highest job losses, respectively, but their unemployment rates both fell as many of the unemployed dropped out of the work force. Once unemployed people stop looking for work -- some, for example, may return to school -- they are no longer included in the jobless rate.
The four states with the largest drops in their unemployment rates -- Indiana, Colorado, Kansas and Virginia -- experienced similar trends: thousands of jobless workers gave up on their searches and left the work force. None of those states actually added any jobs, according to a survey of employers.
Colorado state officials, however, noted that a separate survey of households found the number of residents who said they have jobs increased by 4,900 to 2.49 million.
"This improvement is encouraging news," said Donald Mares, executive director of Colorado's Department of Labor and Employment. While "some ups and downs" are likely over the next several months, "employment appears to be stabilizing," he said.
Still, only eight states added jobs in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to employer surveys used by the U.S. Labor Department. North Carolina added the most, with a gain of 7,000, followed by Montana with 5,100 and West Virginia with 2,800.
The biggest gains in North Carolina and Montana were in government jobs, while West Virginia saw the most improvement in education and health services.
New Jersey added 800 jobs, but its jobless rate jumped to 9.7 percent, the highest in 33 years, from 9.3 percent. The gains there were in transportation and utilities, as well as professional and business services, chiefly because of the hiring of temporary service workers.
"When you see temp firm hirings going up, that's certainly a positive sign," New Jersey Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow said. Companies usually hire temporary workers before they add permanent ones.
North Dakota reported the lowest unemployment rate in August, at 4.3 percent, followed by South Dakota with 4.9 percent and Nebraska at 5 percent.
North Dakota has benefited from a healthy oil sector, and all three states are helped by relatively strong agriculture economies.
Associated Press Writers Beth DeFalco in Trenton, N.J., and Juliet Williams in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to this report.
倒闭的对冲基金公司也可屈指可数。因此，在金融界甚至出现了意为“道德风险(moral hazard)”的新词“I.B.G.”。这是“I'll be gone”（我要离开）的头一个字母,意思是，用高风险的投资商品吸引投资者后，一旦交易收益变坏，就套取丰厚的报酬以后撤出。乌尼贝尔萨(音)投资公司的投资专家纳西姆-尼克勒斯-塔勒布(音)说：“由于美国政府的大力支援，现在投资者都认为政府可以随时阻止大型银行的崩溃。从这个意义来说，华尔街的金融体系陷入了更加危险的境地。”