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Top Economist Tells Bisnow What May's Poor Jobs Report Mean For US CRE


May's jobs report came in well under expectations with only 38,000 jobs created, compared to an expected 160,000. National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun tells Bisnow that the softening job numbers are a consequence of continuing subpar economic expansion.

Lawrence says that earlier months of strong job growth had actually been surprising, given GDP growth at only 2%.

The poor jobs report in May will weigh heavily on the Fed's decision on whether to raise interest rates, especially following an April jobs report that also came in lower than expected—after which Georgia State University economist Rajeev Dhawan told Bisnow a June rate is unlikely.

“Of course, the $60k question is, ‘Will the Fed move in June?’ and the answer is, they probably won’t,” Rajeev said. “Unless they have one more thing—by the time they meet in June the stock market would have to do very well.”

A poor May jobs report is "one more thing" in the wrong direction.

Still, Fed officials have been making bullish statements about a June rate hike recently—even citing a tighter labor market as one of the factors.

While the unemployment rate fell to 4.7% in May, Lawrence tells us this was largely due to people exiting the labor force by ending their job search. That lack of supply in the labor market could push up wages, ultimately spelling trouble for the prices of trophy properties.

"The rising wages, though good for those with jobs, will put upward pressure on the inflation rate," Lawrence tells us. "Higher inflation rate will in turn lead to higher cap rates, which means prices of trophy properties in big cities could buckle downward.”  

Lawrence adds there are some mitigating factors to the jobs report, as "month-to-month bounces are normal in statistical measurements and the latest month was further influenced by striking workers at Verizon, who were technically out of a job."