"Although our recent actions appear to have helped stabilize the situation somewhat, financial markets remain under considerable stress. Pressures in short-term bank funding markets, which had abated somewhat beginning late last year, have increased once again... Notably, in the housing market, sales of both new and existing homes have generally continued weak, partly as a result of the reduced availability of mortgage credit, and home prices have continued to fall. Starts of new single-family homes declined an additional 7 percent in February, bringing the cumulative decline since the early 2006 peak in single-family starts to more than 60 percent. Residential construction is likely to contract somewhat further in coming quarters as builders try to reduce their high inventories of unsold new homes... The unemployment rate edged down in February and remains at a relatively low level; however, in light of the sluggishness of economic activity and other indicators of a softer labor market, I expect it to move somewhat higher in coming months... "