Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

The Latest on Employment Conditions

In each Economic Update, the Research staff analyzes recently released economic indicators and addresses what these indicators mean for REALTORS® and their clients. Today’s update discusses employment conditions.

  • A non-inspiring 148,000 net new jobs were created in September.  However, it brings the 12-month tally up to a very respectable 2.2 million net new jobs.
  • From the low point of few years ago, 7 million net new jobs have been added to the economy.  Note that during the downturn, 8 million jobs were lost.  The economy is therefore still shy of the prior employment peak.  All the while, a fresh stream of high school and college graduates has been entering the workforce.
  • The construction sector was one of the better performers, relatively speaking, in the latest month.  A total of 20,000 new jobs related to constructing of buildings/homes and general contractors. Much room for improvement remains, however.  There are fewer residential contractors now compared to a decade ago.
  • Government jobs have been shrinking.  The federal government sequestration and the need to balance budgets at the state and local level have been the reasons for job cuts.  Compared to early 2000, there are nearly 1.5 million more workers in the government sectors.  (The two temporary job surges in the graph below are due to part-time Census takers.)
  • The average hourly wage rose to $24.09, up 2.1 percent from a year ago.
  • The unemployment rate fell a notch to 7.2 percent.  However, the employment rate – how much of the adult population has jobs – barely budged and remains stuck at a cyclical low rate of 58 percent and change.
  • Steadily more jobs naturally mean more potential home sales and more potential commercial leasing activity.  Now that housing affordability conditions are falling, job creation becomes even more important to help sustain the recovery.
  • All great things in the world came about through work.  Nothing beats an honest day’s work for satisfaction.  Let’s hope the job recovery continues.  Also, here’s a thought: be mindful that big lottery winners have a shorter life expectancy than the general population.

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