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Renita Jablonski: It’s getting lonely out there — in the nation’s office buildings, that is. New data out today finds cash-strapped companies got rid of 25 million square feet of office space in the first quarter. Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson has that from New York.
Jeremy Hobson: According to the firm Reis, the nation’s office vacancy rate is up to 15.2 percent, and it’s expected to approach 20 percent by the end of the year.
That’s driving office rents down, and even dramatically cutting the value of major landmarks. Earlier this week, Boston’s tallest building, the John Hancock Tower, was valued at less than half of its 2006 price. Reis says the problem is going to get worse before it gets better, in large part because of the growing number of empty desks out there.
The Labor Department will report on March unemployment this morning. Economists expect more than 650,000 jobs were lost last month. The White House Press Secretary, traveling with the president in Europe today, said the number is likely to be severe.
In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.
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