KEY MARKET INDICATORS as of Apr 10, 2017
March Jobs Report
Summary – The job market continued to tighten in March, driving the overall unemployment rate to 4.5% – its lowest level since May 2007. But beyond unemployment rate, the March jobs report was weaker-than-expected in both the number of jobs created and wage growth. U.S. employers added a seasonally adjusted 98,000 jobs in March and average hourly earnings rose 2.7% from a year earlier. For the Federal Reserve, there were few signs of overheating in this jobs report that would warrant a faster pace of monetary tightening.
Among the major industries, professional and business services had a good month, adding around 60,000 jobs in March. Hiring in construction slowed in March, but it added almost 100,000 jobs during the first quarter, which is an increase of 3% from the same period last year. Housing remains the best sector for job growth in the economy. Housing-related employment is up 5% from a year ago, compared to job growth of 1.5% for the overall economy. The only concern we have is the weaker job market in the consumer segment. Hiring in the retail sector was down 30,000 in March.
The job market remains very positive for potential first-time homebuyers. Unemployment rate for people in the primary homebuying age (25-34 and 35-44) fell to 4.2% in March, which was the lowest level since November 2007. It is also not far from the trough of 3.7% reached in the last economic cycle.
*FHFA Purchase-Only Home Price Index