May 2018 Employment Statistics for Commercial Real Estate

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.