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Latest Employment Figures Show Strongest Monthly Gains since January 2012

By Allison Halliday | December 17, 2014

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its November Employment Situation report which showed an increase in average monthly gains, and a new high for the recovery.

Chris Muolo, a senior associate and economist with analyzed the report and said “It appears Christmas has come early for commercial and residential real estate. November saw a massive 321,000 jobs added, crushing expectations, and marking the strongest monthly gain since January 2012. The report also included upward revisions to September and October, adding a total of 44,000 jobs to these months. This brings the average monthly gain this year to 240,000, a new high for the recovery.”

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Chris found that key points of the report included the fact that unemployment remained stable last month at 5.8%, its lowest level for the cycle. Labor force participation was 62.8%, but other measures indicate diminishing slack in the labor market. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.4% which is double the predicted expectations. In spite of this wage growth still only measures 2.1% on an annual basis and several more months are needed to establish a continuing trend of improving wage growth. This would help the housing market tremendously as price appreciation has slowed due to declining affordability.

Apparently the outlook for the retail environment may also be brightening up, as non-store retailers and sporting goods stores have seen employment gains of more than 3% over the past quarter. Stores selling foods and beverages also saw solid gains of 1.2% over this period.

Although residential building construction is continuing to expand, non-residential construction and civil engineering are slowing. The demand for residential construction is being driven by the multifamily home sector. Employment levels in the non-residential building construction sector have fallen by 0.7% over the past three months, while the civil engineering sector has seen slight growth of 0.3%.

The healthcare sector is still seeing steady expansion, with demand for home care services and outpatient services being amongst the strongest areas of growth. It’s expected medical office and retail locations will benefit from this trend for quite some time to come. Employment services and temporary help services are amongst the top-performing sectors, with unemployment rising by 2.4% and 2.2% respectively during the past three months. Both sectors show annual growth of more than 8%.

The oil and gas sectors slowed down last month, but oil and gas extraction employment is still 6% more than a year ago. However it looks as if this could change in the future and this may present problems as Houston could face a large increase in office space as much of it is pre-leased to energy companies.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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