Weekly Market Insight • Unemployment Rates • 03/12/12

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Unemployment Rates March 12, 2012
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Grubb & Ellis
One indicator receiving more scrutiny in an election year is the U-6 rate, a measure of slack in the labor market that includes persons who are officially unemployed (the U-3 rate), plus persons marginally attached to the labor force (persons who want a job and have looked for work in the past 12 months), plus persons employed part time who can’t find a full-time job for economic reasons. The U-6 rate, 14.9 percent in February, is the broadest measure of slack in the labor market, and many contend that it gives a clearer picture of continuing weakness than the U-3 rate, 8.3 percent. Employers have added just over 2 million net new payroll jobs in the past 12 months, the best 12-month performance since January 2007, yet the labor market has recovered just one-third of the jobs lost during and after the recession because the recession was so deep. The average duration of unemployment in February was 40.0 weeks, near the all-time peak (since 1948) of 40.9 weeks registered in November. That is more than double the peak in other post-war recessions. The impact of high unemployment on commercial real estate is felt most sharply in the retail and multi-family sectors; people with jobs are more likely to shop and rent an apartment. While the retail property market has indeed been slow to recover, the multi-family market has benefited from the falling homeownership rate, which has more than offset the high jobless rate.
Robert Bach, Senior Vice President, Chief Economist, has 30 years of professional experience in real estate market research, consulting and city planning. His commentary on the real estate markets is provided here on a weekly basis.

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Robert Bach
Senior Vice President, Chief Economist

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© 2012 Grubb & Ellis, all rights reserved.

About CRE Northwest

Specialist in office & investment real estate in Seattle & the Eastside
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