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March Employment Report Comes in as Expected

I typically use the words “envy” and “jealousy” interchangeably, but I recently had reason to learn the difference as I prepared to mention this $5.5 million dollar home out in Ballard, California.

1042645_14The place has the perfect mix of old Spanish-style ranch, with warm walls, exposed beams, and that nostalgic flair for the California frontier. But really, this (see right) is what did it for me. What a view!

So to the future owner of this gem: am jealous or envious? As best I can make out, I am filled with straight envy. Envy refers to desire for another person’s possessions, jobs, living locations, etc. Jealousy deals more with personal status than specific possessions – coveting another’s time, affections, or success.

Despite the occasional unpleasant stabs of envy, I enjoy perusing the new listings on Keith Byrd’s daily tracker. It is always a little fun to play imagination a bit before crunching through the real world.

Most recently for our “real world”, we have an update on the U.S. employment situation. The widely followed Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  release gives a month-to-month overview of labor in the United States.

In March, payrolls added 192,000 jobs and the headline unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7%. The headline rate only covers unemployed persons who are considered “in” the labor force and who are still looking for work. The U6 metric  – considered to be a more holistic overview – also tracks the underemployed and discouraged workers. U6 hit 12.7% in March.

There were 10.5 million total unemployed persons, and the labor participation rate was 63.2%. In total, 58.9% of the population are employed. The construction sector added 19,000 jobs in March.

Response to the report was muted. We have become accustomed to see job growth between 150,000 and 200,000 with anything more or less worthy of comment.

In digesting this information, a few numbers to consider:

  • At healthy levels, the economy adds 200,000 to 250,000
  • At a pace of 192,000 jobs per month, it would take five years to make up the jobs lost during the recession. Though it has been suggested that part of the job loss was cyclical and that a more accurate estimate puts the U.S. job gap at 4 million (rather than 7.4 million).
  • The U.S. needs a minimum of 125,000 jobs added per month to keep up with population growth.

Broadly speaking, the jobs numbers were a bit below what we would hope to see, but are hardly damaging.

Mortgage rates moved little upon the news release, and the 30-year fixed continues to hover in the mid-4.000% level. This number is expected to go up as the Federal Reserve continues to taper quantitative easing.


Our column last week focused on lending for homes with non-permitted additions. See more updates on economic happenings, the housing market, and mortgage lending on our Market Update blog.

Written by Central Coast Lending - Go to Central Coast Lending's Website/Profile