Unemployment Odds

Unemployment hit a 25-year high in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' new numbers, climbing to 8.1 percent. Intrade has been taking odds on whether or not the unemployment rate will be greater than 9 percent in December 2009, and consensus is it probably will surpass that mark. The proposition didn't seem too likely to the site's bettors until last month: bets traded around $3.50 in mid-January (indicating a 35 percent perceived likelihood, as bets cost between $0.0 and $10). Now futures on 9-pecent-plus unemployment are trading at $7.97. This morning's numbers haven't affected the price significantly yet--it's fallen $0.30 since yesterday, a pretty standard fluctuation--but a 79.7 percent perceived likelihood doesn't leave that much room to climb. Chart after the jump: