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Personal finance from around the Web:

  • The official unemployment rate fell in January to 9.7%, but a new study finds 6.4% of workers have taken part-time jobs because they can't find full-time employment. Unemployment is so bad in many places that insolvent state unemployment insurance trust funds have borrowed more in this recession than they did during 1981 and 1982. [Boston Herald, ProPublica]
  • The Federal Reserve policy of buying up mortgage-backed securities is widely believed to have kept mortgage rates close to record lows, but it's slated to end March 31. Now the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says the Fed may reopen the program if interest rates spike or if the economy shows new weaknesses. [Washington Post]
  • The past decade has brought two painful bear markets. Here are the lessons you can learn from them, especially since bearish sentiment is at its highest level in three months. [Wise Investing, The Pragmatic Capitalist]
  • Need help getting a dinner reservation or a car to the airport, but can't afford a personal assistant? A new, free app iphone app promises to serve as a virtual personal assistant. [Bits]

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