Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chicago's Mortgage Choice - May 10, 2016 Real Estate Report - Spotlight on Jobs

Just one week after the Federal Reserve Board decided not to raise rates for the first time in 2016, the all-important jobs report was released. The Fed's statement regarding the industry was a mixed message. On the positive side of the coin, the statement indicated that international factors were not as grave a threat to the economy as feared earlier in the year. On the other hand, the Fed acknowledged that economic growth continues to be weak. This weakness was confirmed the last week in April, as the first estimate for economic growth for the initial quarter of 2016 came in below consensus estimates at 0.5%. Even though this number will likely be revised upward in the coming months, it is clear that the economy is as weak as the Fed has indicated. Thus far this year, the greatest areas of strength the economy has been displaying is within the areas of the creation of jobs and the real estate sector. Which brings us back to the employment report. On Friday, the Labor Department indicated that the economy had produced 160,000 jobs in April, less than expected. However, the average hours worked was higher and so were wages. The unemployment rate came in unchanged at 5.0%. What does this mean? The economy has produced approximately 800,000 jobs in the first four months of 2016, which is pretty impressive. The best chance for a revival of economic growth is continued growth in consumer spending and to do that, we need to create jobs. Thus far this year, we are doing just that; however, we will want to make sure that the slower economy will not filter down to employment growth. Keith Stewart 773-529-7000