Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Instant Reaction: Jobs, May 5, 2023

A record number of Americans are working, with another 253,000 net new job additions in April. Compared to the employment peak pre-pandemic, 3.2 million more people are working. The unemployment rate is super tight at 3.4%. Job openings are way above those searching for a job: 9.6 million job openings compared to 5.7 million people searching for one.

Let’s be mindful, however, that employment is considered a lagging indicator and the last economic data to turn. Job openings are 20% lower compared to one year ago. The tight job market is partly due to the nearly 5 million Americans who were in the labor force before the pandemic but are no longer seeking employment. The 3.2 million net job additions over the past three years are averaging 1 million job creations per year, which is only about half of the normal annual job creation.

Directionally, more jobs mean more housing demand. Given the many ‘help wanted’ signs, more jobs will be added in the upcoming months. Should more Americans enter the labor force, an even better outcome can be achieved as more supply will lessen inflationary pressure and lower the mortgage rate.

Bar graph: Record-High Payroll Jobs, April 2020 to April 2023
Line graph: Job Openings Lower by 20% though Job Openings numbers higher than Unemployed numbers
Line graph: Elevated Number of People Not in the Labor Force January 2017 to April 2023
Table: Wage Rate and Wage Growth in April 2023