When economists evaluate the state of the economy, one of the most highly anticipated factors is employment. Are jobs being created? The answer is found in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly Jobs Report.
At the end of the first quarter of 2015, the report showed that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 126,000 and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.5 percent. The job creation numbers in March 2015 were the lowest they have been since December 2013.
As the 12-month streak of adding 200,000 or more jobs each month came to an end, the U.S. economy appeared to have hit a speed bump. Experts point to the reduction in oil prices as one of the factors for the less-than-hoped-for number of newly created jobs. While interest rates had been expected to rise in 2015, a slowdown in the economy in the first quarter will likely forestall a rise in interest rates.
Real estate agents don’t need a degree in economics to serve their clients; they just need to be their clients’ local economist.
Although looking at the national report is informative, real estate is a local business and agents should study their local reports. For example, in California, although the unemployment rate declined to 6.5 percent, that is still higher than the national average. Conversely, Kentucky’s unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent, which is below the national average.
While overall job growth slowed in the first quarter of 2015, your local market might not have felt a slowdown. By checking your local numbers each month, you gain a better perspective on how your market is performing relative to the rest of the country. Knowing this important information is what makes you your clients’ local economist and real estate agent of choice.
This article is the first in the Market aha series for Q1 2015.