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Americans have tamed their wanderlust during this recession, according to the latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Only about 2.4% of Americans moved from state to state in 2008, down from 2.5% the previous year.

"The mobility rate is lower than it has been in years," said Robert Lang, a demographer with Virginia Tech University. "There's a recession and a housing bust. People can't sell their homes in California and move to Las Vegas or sell their condo in Florida and move to North Carolina."

"People are hunkering down, trying to hold on to what they have," added Andy Beveridge, a demographer and sociology professor at Queens College in New York. "It's a depression, recession mentality."

Plus, a good portion of the population has reached the age where the charm of a new place is more than offset by the fetters of life and responsibilities. "A large share of the population is at the age where they're settled," Lang said. "The baby boomers have good jobs and most are not ready to retire."
Shunning the lands of sun and surf

Perpetually booming Florida may actually have fewer people than in 2007.

During 2008, 2.8% of the Sunshine State's population hadn't lived there the year before, and the net domestic migration -- the difference between Americans moving into a state and those moving out -- was negative for the first time in recent history.

Nearly 10,000 more Americans fled the land of the Dolphins and the Devil Rays than moved in, according to the Census. That followed average gains of more than 200,000 a year from 2001 through 2006.
0:00 /2:15Pittsburgh's renaissance

"It looks like the first time in recorded history that Florida lost population," Beveridge said.

(That's slight hyperbole: Florida's population did drop in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II.)

California also saw a decline in the number of people coming to partake of its sand and sea. A mere 1.3% of California residents moved in from out of state in 2008. That's off from 1.4% in 2007.

For years, Americans have been fleeing the Golden State. The population kept growing only because of foreign immigration and births. All through the 2000s there has been a net loss in domestic migration, with 800,000 more Americans leaving than moving in during the three years ended in 2007. As it became more difficult to sell homes, that out-flow eased. That, combined with the newcomers, meant the population fell by only 144,000 in 2008.

The housing bust, and the harm it did to employment, seems to have pushed more people to leave bubble markets like California and Florida than have been drawn in by more affordable home prices.

"The Florida economy is based on growth and home construction," said Lang. With building projects dying on the vine, unemployment soared to 7.6% for the state in 2008. It's now up to 10.7%.

The same job problems plague many California cities, especially Central Valley towns like Stockton, Fresno and Merced. Construction-related job losses helped send state unemployment to 8.7% by December 2008 from 5.9% a year earlier. Today, some cities report breathtakingly high unemployment rates: 30.2% in El Centro; 17.6% in Merced; and 17.2% in Yuba City.
So, where are they moving?

So, if people aren't heading for the good life in California and Florida, where are they going?

D.C., Alaska and Wyoming. (Seriously.)

The nation's capital saw 7.6% of its residents arrive in 2008; Alaska attracted 6% more people to the Last Frontier (up a full percent from 2007); and 5.2% more people wanted to be Wyoming cowboys.
0:00 /02:57'I love and hate Detroit'

To be fair, however, small populations in these places convert modest in-migration increases into large percentage gains. They're each among the smallest states (or district) in the Union. That's just the opposite of California and Florida where each percentage point represents hundreds of thousands of people.
Don't mess with Texas

In terms of net migration -- those moving in minus those leaving -- Texas was the star performer in 2008, with the population growing by 140,000.

That meshes with what moving company Allied Van Lines experienced. "We moved more people here than anywhere in the U.S. in the last several years," said David King, general manager of Berger Transfer and Storage in Houston, Texas, and Allied Van Lines' largest booking and hauling agent.

The moving company recorded 5,891 inbound shipments and 3,988 outbound shipments in 2008, a net gain of 1,903. That was just slightly lower than last year's net gain of 2,041.

That influx may be due to the state's employment picture, which has remained rosier than most other places thanks to the energy industry and a welcoming business climate. Plus, home prices never cycled through a boom-bust period: They've remained affordable, which facilitates mobility.

In contrast, battered Michigan, with its housing and job woes, was the least-popular place to move to. The state experienced a net loss of 109,000 people, or 1.1%, in 2008, according to the Census. Allied said its outbound shipments totaled 2,388, more than double its inbound shipments of 1,181.

New York State lost even more people than Michigan -- 126,000 people -- but because it has a larger population to begin with, the percentage drop is just 0.7%, almost identical to New Jersey's.
Moving down the block

The Census Bureau also reported that fewer residents were moving within their home states.

The percentage of people who lived in different homes within the same state dropped to 12.6% during 2008. It was 12.8% in 2007 and 13% in 2005, when housing markets were hopping.

The decline came despite a boost in the number of people forced to move. More than 860,000 delinquent mortgage borrowers lost homes to foreclosure in 2008, about three times as many as in 2005.

More Alaskans moved within the state during 2008 than any other place; 16.3% of them occupied a different house. That increased from 14.6% in 2007.

Oklahoma (15.8%), Nevada (15.7%) and Texas (15.2%) residents also moved around a lot.

New Jersey residents, if they weren't leaving the state altogether, stayed put: 8.2% of them moved within the state during 2008.

There must be something about the Northeast: Only 9.1% of New Yorkers moved within the state, while Rhode Islanders and New Hampshire residents moved at a rate of 9.2%.

In an age when the rich and famous often indulge themselves with huge, expensive mansions, Bernie Madoff played it relatively conservatively.

Based on his real estate holdings, you wouldn't have guessed that the felonious financier had victimized his investors by as much as $65 billion. His oceanfront cottage in Montauk is notable more for its vistas than its opulence.

That theme continues as we get closer looks at both his Manhattan penthouse and his Palm Beach property, thanks to publicity videos hosted by U.S. marshals, who are preparing the homes for sale and determining which brokers will get the listings. Both residences go on the market this week and will probably eventually sell for $7 million each. And they're not exactly palatial estates.

The Manhattan penthouse is nice, of course, but it isn't awe inspiring. It occupies the entire top two floors of an Upper East Side apartment building and features wraparound terraces with extraordinary views. The residence is about 4,000 square feet, which is large by Manhattan standards but still distinctly sub-McMansion.

"From what I've seen, I'd call it a fairly modest place," said expert New York appraiser Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel.

But a true penthouse carries a special cachet and puts Madoff's house in a vaunted category. Miller compared it to the Montauk home, which while modest has the distinction of sitting right on the beach. There are buyers who only want ocean-front property and will accept nothing less. Similarly, there are discerning buyers who only want penthouses.

Because these types of houses are rare, when they come on the market, they sell for premiums. The marshal in charge of the Manhattan sale, Roland Ubaldo, said his office was letting the brokers set he price, but he anticipates between $8 million and $10 million for the home where "Madoff spent the last days of his life as a free man."

The penthouse has attractive fanlights over many of the windows, parquet floors, four working fireplaces and a gorgeous curving staircase to go from the 11th to the 12th floor. Bernie's study is floor-to-ceiling cherry-wood paneled walls and bookcases. The kitchen is state of the art with stainless steel counters, custom cabinets and high-end appliances.

The home will be sold as a three bedroom, though that's not the current configuration. There's only one bedroom now. Bernie and his wife, Ruth, tended to have separate facilities, so the other two bedrooms were converted to his-and-her studies. Separate walk-in closets have cedar cabinets and housed the 45 to 50 custom made suits Bernie owned, as well as dozens of pairs of shoes.
Southern comfort

At 6,500 square feet, the Palm Beach home is much larger than the other Madoff homes, but it is still comparatively modest and mostly, well, homey.

"There was nothing really extravagant, nothing over the top about it," said Barry Golden, of the U.S. Marshals Southern District Florida office, which is preparing the property for sale.

The Palm Beach County's property appraiser values the house itself, minus the lot it sits on, at only about $778,000. The land is what's really valuable: The half acre is appraised at close to $7 million.

"It's a beautiful home, don't get me wrong," said John Thomas, Palm Beach County's Director of Residential Appraisal. "But it's just another $8 million or $9 million property in the town of Palm Beach. In terms of the neighborhood, they're all spectacular."
0:00 /3:54More Madoff homes on display

It is, however, larger than either of its next-door neighbors, and it has an 80-foot dock on the Intracoastal Waterway, right behind the house. That's where Madoff kept his yacht. "We're hoping that will keep the price up," said Thomas.

From the street it is hard to see much of the property because dense plantings screen the building from prying eyes. But glimpses reveal a two-story wood-frame home with ground-floor and second-story verandas.

Inside, it's casual chic with uneven terra cotta tile floors, lots of windows and French doors, unpainted vaulted ceilings and exposed beams. The finishes here are a bit finer than that of the Montauk residence, which is more rustic. There is elaborate and extensive woodwork with beautiful moldings and built-in bookshelves.

The upstairs consists of a master suite with bedchamber, dual walk-in closets, an exercise room, a study and two baths.

Decor wise, the home features two recurring themes: fish and bulls.

"You can't help but notice all the bull reference in the house," said Golden.

There are what look like old English paintings of different breeds of bulls, as well as bull statues and figurines. Mounted on a wall is the 1969 blueprints for Bull, the Madoff yacht, a 55-foot, custom-made craft that the marshals also seized.

On Wall Street, the bull means optimism concerning the direction of the market. In everyday life, it has an alternative meaning, one Madoff's victims probably find more appropriate as a motif in his house.

Victims may also find the fish theme -- figurines, display cases of lures and tied flies, and wall-mounted antique angling gear -- equally apt considering how he angled for investors, reeled them in and then gutted and filleted them.

All the furniture and objets d'arte will stay in the house until it's sold, according to Golden. After that, they'll be auctioned off and the proceeds, like those from the home sale, will go into the fund to repay investors.

The most valuable of all the personal property is undoubtedly Bull the yacht. It was kept shrink-wrapped after it was seized in April until opened up for video display this month.

The Bull boasts a flying bridge that sits so high up that an elevator was needed to carry people up. Yes, you read that right: Bernie's boat has an elevator.
0:00 /3:44Selling Madoff's Montauk home

There's also a 38-foot Shelter Island runabout, a 1930's rumrunner-style boat with a high bow and an aggressive profile called Sitting Bull. Last, there's the little Maverick, a small open cabin boat with an outboard motor. It's name? You guessed it: Little Bull.

Golden is particularly interested to see whether the Madoff connection will bring out more boat buyers for the auction, which should take place soon. "We hope to keep the prices up so we can return the maximum amount of money to the victims," he said.

Sunburned and barbecued out, Wall Streeters returning to work next week face the first big challenge to the six-month-old rally.

Even after a down week on Wall Street, punctuated by a mixed August jobs report, the S&P 500 remains 50% above the 12-year lows hit in March.

Stocks churned in a narrow range for most of August, ending the month higher. But with fewer people around and trading in August, the market rally didn't really face much of a challenge. That won't be the case in September.

"The fall campaigns begin next week for Wall Street, Congress and students," said Scott Armiger, portfolio manager at Christiana Bank & Trust Company. "Everyone has to conduct business, pass laws or study."

Armiger said he doesn't put much stock in the markets' seesawing over the last two weeks. Trading volume has been low, as is typical of late summer when many market pros on the sidelines.

"The week ahead will tell us more about where we stand," he said.

The week is fairly light on economic reports, with readings on the trade gap, weekly jobless claims and consumer sentiment being the standouts. Congress reconvenes on Tuesday. Wednesday night, President Obama will speak to the nation and the Congress on health care reform.

"We've had some artificial demand created by all the stimulus, but when you take that away, will there be enough fuel for real demand to take its place?" said Dave Hinnenkamp, CEO at KDV Wealth Management. "The market is looking at the data and trying to figure it out."

Hinnenkamp said that stocks are likely to seesaw or even slide five or ten percent over the next month or two, until the next batch of earnings come out and the initial readings on third-quarter GDP growth are released.
0:00 /2:04Atlanta Fed sees turnaround

Month of meltdowns: September is typically a tough one for Wall Street, with the Dow industrials, Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 all posting their biggest percentage losses for the year, according to the Stock Trader's Almanac.

The month tends to be weak as the "back to work" mentality also tends to bring in a certain "cleaning house" momentum.

This particular September also ushers in a series of dubious anniversaries for Wall Street.

This Monday, Labor Day, is the one-year anniversary of the government's takeover of mortgage lenders Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500).

On Sept. 8, 2008, the Bush Administration put the companies under a government conservatorship and replaced both chief executives. The two companies owned or backed half a billion in mortgage debt and had lost billions in the housing collapse.

One week later brings the anniversary of what many consider to be the accelerant that pushed the recession into full-blown crisis: the collapse of Lehman Bros. and 11th-hour buyout of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500). On Sept. 15, 2008, the Dow slumped 504 points, as financial shares tumbled, credit seized up and investors went into panic mode.

Stocks lurched dramatically all week, but managed to end just modestly lower that Friday after a series of government interventions. They included the Federal Reserve jumping in to save AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) from bankruptcy and the establishment of an early version of the TARP bank bailout plan.

One volatile year later, the Dow is still down 13.5%, the S&P is down 15% and the Nasdaq composite is down just over 7%.
On the docket

Monday: All financial markets are closed for Labor Day.

Tuesday: The July Consumer Credit report from the Federal Reserve is due in the afternoon. Credit is expected to have fallen for the sixth consecutive month as the recession continues to nip borrowing. Credit likely dipped a seasonally adjusted $4 billion after falling $10.3 billion in June, according to a Briefing.com survey of economists.

Wednesday: The weekly crude oil inventories report is due in the morning, from the Energy Information Administration.

In the afternoon, the Federal Reserve releases its periodic "beige book" survey of the economy, which tracks 12 districts.

The stream of reports showing improvements in housing and manufacturing and continued weakness in the labor market have given investors a picture of the economy in the first half of the third quarter. But the beige book will put that in a broader perspective.

Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) is expected to introduce iPod Nano and iPod Touch models that include digital cameras, as well as other new updates, at its media event Wednesday. Apple watchers are also eager to see if CEO Steve Jobs will make an appearance now that he is back to work after a six-month medical leave.

Thursday: The July trade gap from the Commerce Department is expected to hold steady at $27 billion. Last month, imports rose for the first time in nearly a year due to higher oil prices, but that was partially offset by stronger global demand for U.S. goods and services. Investors will be looking to see if the trend continues this month.

Also in the morning, the Labor Department releases the weekly jobless claims report. Approximately 556,000 Americans are expected to have filed new claims for unemployment in the previous week versus 570,000 in the previous week.

Continuing claims, a measure of those receiving benefits for a week or more, are expected to continue to rise from the 6.234 million level hit last week.

RealtyTrac releases its monthly report on foreclosures.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaks before the Congressional Oversight Panel.

Friday: The initial reading on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan is due shortly after the start of trading. The index is expected to have risen to 67.3 in September from 65.7 in August.

The Commerce Department is expected to report a drop in wholesale inventories for the 11th straight month, when the July report is released in the morning. Stocks at U.S. wholesalers likely fell 1% in July, according to forecasts, after falling 1.7% in June.

August import and export prices are also due in the morning, while the August Treasury budget is due in the afternoon.

U.S. stocks were poised to open higher Friday, getting a lift from the better-than-expected government release on the monthly jobs report.

At 8:45 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average, Nasdaq 100 and Standard & Poor's 500 futures were up.

Futures measure current index values against their perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins.

Futures appeared to get a lift from the wave of optimism that swept markets in the previous session. Wall Street staged a late-session rally Thursday after three straight days of losses.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist for Avalon Partners, said that Friday's volume will be light ahead of the Labor Day weekend - and that the monthly employment report will be the prime market mover.

Economy: The Labor Department reported that the economy shed 216,000 jobs in the month of August, which was less than expected.
0:00 /2:16Job cuts expected to slow

Employers were expected to have cut 230,000 jobs from their payrolls last month, according to economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

The payroll figure for July was revised to a decline of 276,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate rose to 9.7% in August, this highest rate since 1983. This was higher than the 9.5% rate expected by Briefing.com consensus. It was also an increase from 9.4% in July.

World markets: Stocks around the world were mostly upbeat ahead of the jobs report. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added nearly 3%, although Japan's Nikkei posted modest losses. Major European markets were higher in midday trading.

Money and oil: The dollar slipped versus the euro and the British pound but edged up against the yen.

The price of oil rose 51 cents a barrel to $68.47.

BP has drilled one of the deepest oil wells ever discovered, the company said Wednesday.

The Tiber well, located about 250 miles southeast of Houston in the Gulf of Mexico, was drilled about 35,055 feet deep, BP (BP) said. The energy giant is the largest producer of oil and gas in the Gulf, at 400,000 barrels per day.

Further evaluation is needed in order to determine the value of the well, BP said.

The well is BP's second significant discovery in the so-called "lower tertiary" area in the Gulf of Mexico, and it found oil in multiple reservoirs, said Andy Inglis, a BP chief executive, in a written statement.

"These material discoveries together with our industry leading acreage position support the continuing growth of our deepwater Gulf of Mexico business into the second half of the next decade, Inglis said.

Tiber is operated by BP in partnership with co-owners Petrobras (PBR) and ConocoPhillips (COP, Fortune 500).

Oil prices: Crude climbed early Wednesday, snapping a three-day losing streak. After oil settled Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said crude stockpiles fell by 3.19 million barrels last week.

Oil was trading up 55 cents to $68.60 by 7:25 a.m. ET Wednesday.

Investors were waiting to see whether API's data would be confirmed by the weekly Energy Information Administration inventory report, released at 10:30 a.m. ET. Analysts expect oil stocks to fall by 1.9 million barrels.

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