The Latest Employment Report: Notes for Consumers

Highlights

  • A decrease in the overall unemployment rate will ultimately have the biggest impact on home prices and interest rates.
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October Report Shows Increase in Most Areas

The October 2010 employment report was recently released, and over the weekend I had a chance to browse some of the stats. In short, things were looking up for the month with increases in all major areas. Well, not every area. Let’s have a look at what’s good and what’s bad about the numbers for the everyday consumer:

The Good

  1. Jobs in the private sector increased by 159,000 over the month. This is the biggest increase we have seen in the private sector since April.
  2. The average earnings for workers were up (0.2%) in October.
  3. The number of average hours worked has also increased by 0.4%.

The Bad

  1. While many areas added jobs to the private market, the government market continued to drop as more census workers completed their jobs in October.
  2. The unemployment rate remained unchanged (at 9.6%) despite the positive numbers.

The Truth

While the October report is being hailed a good sign for employment, the truth is that we are still very far from where we should be nationally. Consumers should watch for a decrease in the overall unemployment rate as a sign of stability. This will ultimately have the biggest impact on home prices and interest rates.

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