More jobs mean more potential home buyers. In March, 236,000 more Americans were working and earning income. That brings a one-year gain to 4.1 million and 3.2 million more jobs compared to the pre-pandemic employment peak in February 2020. Many of the job gains have been in the southern and Rocky Mountain states. Earnings are also rising, with the latest typical hourly wage rate at $33.18, up 4.2%. Most Americans’ standard of living, however, is unfortunately not rising because consumer price inflation is above 6%.
One continuing source of friction is the number of people who are not working and not searching for a job, now at 99.5 million. Half are retirees over the age of 65, but the other half is younger. The current out-of-the-labor-force is 4 million higher compared to pre-pandemic. That is why the unemployment rate is so low while there are also abundant Help Wanted signs. There are 9.9 million job openings in the country. The construction industry itself is looking for a historical high of 412,000 more workers. Housing inventory is low, and more home construction is needed.