Vacancies in U.S. shopping centers reached a 17-year high in the third quarter this year, peaking at 10.3 percent, the highest level seen since 1992 when the rate hit 8.4 percent, according to research firm Reis. The third quarter saw occupied space at community shopping centers drop by 5.3 million square feet, while the asking rent at shopping centers dropped to $19.22 per square foot, the lowest level since 2007. Victor Calanog, research director with Reis, said that unemployment, coupled with low consumer confidence, was to blame. “Until we see stabilization and recovery take root in both consumer spending and business spending and hiring, we do not foresee a recovery in the retail sector until late 2012 at the earliest,” Calanog said in a statement. This data comes as U.S. unemployment jumped to nearly 10 percent last month and U.S. payrolls were cut by 263,000.