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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Looking for silver lining? Things are even worse elsewhere

LET ME START with a disclaimer.

In no way am I about to claim that the economic problems facing the Fredericksburg area are not real.

The area’s unemployment rate rose to 5.1 percent in December, its highest since February 1994. Many companies have been laying off workers as the local economy has slowed, and residential construction has been hit particularly hard.

The median sales price for a house in the area was $215,000 in January, which is 38.6 percent lower than the median in June 2006. Many area homeowners who bought in the past five years or so are now under water on their mortgages.

Partly due to those two factors, consumer spending has fallen dramatically, pushing up vacancy rates at area shopping centers and challenging the budgets of local governments, which face the unpleasant decision of raising taxes or cutting services.

That’s the bad news. Now here’s the good news: We’re not Florida.

Click here for this week’s full Business Browser column.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/businessbrowser/2009/02/15/looking-for-silver-lining-things-are-even-worse-elsewhere/

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