Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

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 the latest employment figures.

  • A net job gain of 69,000 jobs in May will continue to add more people into the pool of potential homebuyers and increase demand for commercial real estate spaces. However, job gains of 200,000 is needed every month for the next 8 years to get the unemployment rate down to 5%.
  • The slow job gains and more people entering the labor force resulted in the unemployment rate ticking up to 8.2%.
  • Because of the elevated unemployment rate, there are only slight wage gains. A typical wage rate is now $23.41, which is up 1.7% from one year ago. Unfortunately, all the wage gain is getting eaten by inflation, which rose by 2.3% over the same period.
  • There is good news in that the higher paying manufacturing sector is adding jobs. Health care-related jobs rose the strongest, with 33,000 net job additions. But surprisingly, construction jobs fell by 28,000, which is counterintuitive to the recent rises in housing starts. Most of these job cuts appear to be related to highway and other heavy civil engineering cutbacks.
  • Meanwhile, REALTOR® membership figures are down by 3% from one year ago. Recent gains in industry activity and income will therefore be shared by fewer numbers of members this year.
  • Given the latest data, the jobs forecast for this year looks to be 1.7 to 1.9 million, rather than the 2.0 to 2.5 million jobs anticipated at the beginning of the year.
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