By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
The delayed jobs report for October came out on Friday, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that the economy created 204,000 jobs during the month, an improvement from the September, and more than the average monthly growth for the last previous 12 months of 190,000. Employment increased in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing and healthcare.
Federal employees on furlough during the shutdown were still considered employed in the BLS payroll survey because they worked or received pay for the pay period that included the 12th of the month. Even so, the trend in the public sector at the federal level is clear: employment declined by 12,000 in October, and over the last 12 months federal government employment dropped by 94,000 all together.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that for the week ending Nov. 2, initial unemployment claims totaled 336,000, a drop of 9,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average was 348,250, a decrease of 9,250 from the previous week. It isn’t clear yet whether the reporting problems from California are still affecting the weekly totals.
Q3 GDP stronger than expected
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Thursday that real U.S. GDP increased at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent in the third quarter, which was above expectations. This “advance” estimate is, however, only the first of three, and will be revised in the coming weeks. The final number of the annualized increase in the second quarter was 2.5 percent.
The increase in real GDP reflected increasing personal consumption expenditures—people buying things—as well as private inventory investment—businesses buying things—and exports, residential fixed investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending. By contrast, federal government spending was down, and that took away from growth. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
Investment in nonresidential structures—mostly CRE—increased 12.3 percent during the third quarter, according to the BLS. Real residential fixed investment increased 14.6 percent.
Seniors housing builders more confident
Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market showed continued improvement in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ latest 55+ Housing Market Index, which was released on Thursday. All segments of the market—single-family homes, condominiums and multifamily rental—registered strong increases. The single-family index increased 14 points to a level of 50, which is the highest third-quarter number since the inception of the index in 2008 and the eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvements.
Ahead of the jobs report, Wall Street had a considerable down day on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average off 152.9 points, or 0.97 percent. The S&P 500 lost 1.32 percent and the Nasdaq was down 1.9 percent.