Employment recovery is better than we thought. Good for CRE and apartment building investment.

Interesting report from CBRE Econometric Advisors on the revised employment numbers just out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS). The BLS updates their employment numbers every year to reduce the error rate from their regular surveys and the revisions were up:

Employment Closer to Full Recovery, Good for Apartment Building Investment
Click for full size image.

It is important to understand that the employment data produced by the BLS are based on a survey and therefore are subject to sampling error. As part of its survey methodology, the BLS completes a re-benchmarking of its payroll employment data annually, to account for any job gains or losses that were missed over the course of the past year. The payroll survey consists of a sample of 145,000 businesses and government agencies covering 557,000 worksites throughout the U.S. The BLS uses a birth-death model to account for changes not directly reported in its sample due to business openings and closings.

In order to adjust for missing information that could cause the birth-death model to miss its mark, the BLS annually benches its estimates to unemployment compensation records, to allow for a reconciliation of total payroll employment. Although the largest changes are always seen in the most recent year or two, estimates as far back as five years may be measurably altered, which can have a significant effect on how the labor market is seen to have affected commercial real estate demand. The process is first done at the national level, and then at the state and local levels.

The upward revision shows that total employment growth the last two years was 1.9% not 1.3% And as you can see on the chart above, Office employment growth over the same period was actually up 2.5% instead of the initial figure of 1.8% bringing many markets nearly back to their peak employment numbers. CBRE Econometrics expects full office employment recovery by early next year, which is also good for apartment building investment. For more details including sectors see the complete article here. Note that you may have to register on their site but it’s free.

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