Monday, January 10, 2011

Employment Picture Brightens:

Demand for housing is fueled by consumer confidence levels. And nothing impacts those levels more than how consumers feel about the job market. We had three major releases last week that gave us a better understanding of the employment picture.

First up were the Challenger Job Cuts report. This measures the number of layoffs announced by corporations. They reported that layoffs decreased by 34% in December. Next up was the ADP Private Payroll report. They measure non-farm and non-government hiring. This report showed a gain of 297,000 jobs in December which was one of the strongest increases on record. Lastly, the Labor Department reported that the national Unemployment Rate declined from 9.8% to 9.4% which is the lowest reading in 1 1/2 years.

While we certainly still have a lot of ground to make up in the job market, the above news is good for housing and certainly mirrors last month's gains in both Existing Home Sales and Pending Home Sales.

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