This just in: the local economy was weak last month.

The local economy sustained its second-worst monthly drop in December, USD economist Alan Gin said today. The only up category was a slight tick up in the outlook for the national economy. Local stock prices were down moderately. But there were “huge drops” in the readings for four categories: building permits, unemployment insurance claims, consumer confidence and help wanted ads.

Building permits to construct residential units had its lowest level for any month on record in December. Records go back to 1973.

Here’s Gin, referencing the latest unemployment numbers released last week:

The outlook remains unchanged from recent months. The local economy is expected to be weak for at least the first half of 2009, with job losses in particular expected to mount. … Retailing has been heavily impacted, with a weak Christmas buying season causing retail employment to fall by 8,500 jobs in December compared to the same month a year ago. The numbers are expected to worsen with the post-holiday closing of stores such as Mervyn’s, Circuit City, and Linens ‘n Things.

KELLY BENNETT

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