Report by Barbara Byrne Denham
In an unexpected surprise, the U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in May. This was well above the recent six-month average of 202,000 jobs. The gains were led by education and health services (+39,000 jobs), construction (+25,000 jobs) and even retail was strong in the month (+31,100 jobs). Since May of last year, the U.S. has added 2.36 million jobs for a growth rate of 1.6%, in line with the 2017 growth rate.
The unemployment rate dipped to 3.8% from 3.9% last quarter as more people gained employment (+293,000 jobs) in the month, and fewer were added to the labor force (+12,000 jobs). According to the seasonally adjusted BLS data, only once in the last 49 years – in April 2000 – has the unemployment rate fallen this low. While these statistics suggest that the economy is at full employment, the employment to population ratio of 60.4% is still well below the peak of 63.4% in 2006.
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Barbara Byrne Denham is a Senior Economist in the research and economics department at Reis, the team responsible for the firm’s market forecasting, valuation, and portfolio analytics services. Throughout her 20-year career, Barbara has written a number of white papers on the commercial real estate market.