Another Mediocre Month for Job Growth?

The consensus among economists is for an increase of 190,000 jobs in October, with a range of estimates between 150,000 and 240,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly report on jobs on Friday, which as always will be one of the main indicators of growth for the economy — and for real estate of all stripes, since everyone benefits from fuller employment. According to Bloomberg, the consensus among economists is for an increase of 190,000 jobs in October, with a range of estimates between 150,000 and 240,000. If the consensus is right, that would be better growth than in September, which saw a fairly lackluster 142,000 new jobs, but not as good as earlier this year or late last year, when job creation was regularly over 200,000. The consensus also predicts an unemployment rate of 5 percent.

On Wednesday, Automated Data Processing predicted an increase of 182,000 private sector payroll jobs in October, which more-or-less agrees with economists’ expectations of an addition of 185,000 private sector payroll jobs for the month. ADP predicts that 35,000 of those new private-sector jobs will be in construction, which is a good indicator for real estate as a whole. The company also estimates that the economy will add 9,000 jobs in the financial services sector, which can be a bonus for office markets, especially in places whose markets are already hot, such as parts of Manhattan, San Francisco, or Seattle. Likewise, office space-focused professional and business service jobs increased 13,000 in October, according to ADP.

On the other hand, the ADP report isn’t very useful in predicting the BLS report for any given month, so its numbers should be taken with grains of salt. Another predictor of the employment picture in October is initial weekly unemployment claims, which came in at an annualized rate of 260,000 in late October, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, down from 271,000 in September. That’s the lowest rate since 1973, and points to a reasonably good month for hiring.

The official BLS October employment report, however it turns out, will be an important one in another way: it’s the first of two before the Fed decides on whether to raise interest rates in December. Lately the conventional wisdom is beginning to predict an increase, helped along on Wednesday by comments the Fed chair Janet Yellen, who told the House Financial Services Committee that the economy was “performing well” and suggested that the Fed could raise interest rates. No promises, of course, but the fact that she floated an increase as a possibility is probably significant.