Hold The Panic…Certain Office Markets Are Holding Up

34,000 Education and Health Services Jobs Stands as Sole Bright Spot in Tepid Month for Job Growth

U.S.-based employers went into the Labor Day weekend adding no new jobs in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.4 million to 8.8 million in August. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

Overall employment decreased in the office and industrial sectors in August, but increased in retail according to the BLS. The office (excluding federal employees) and industrial sectors shed 12,000 and 1,000 jobs, respectively, in August, while the retail sector added 2,000.

“Employment growth ground to a halt in August as sagging consumer confidence discouraged already skittish U.S. businesses from hiring,” said William Hughes, senior vice president / managing director Marcus & Millichap Newport Beach, CA. “The August report was the weakest in almost a year.”

“If job growth does not accelerate, it could take more than four years to return to pre-recession employment levels,” Hughes wrote in the company’s weekly capital markets report.”

Hessum Nadji, Marcus & Millichap’s managing director of research services, said there were a couple of bright spots in the August employment numbers, with the brightest being the addition of 34,000 education and health services jobs. Medical office space has outperformed through the recession and vacancy stands to fall to 11.4% by year-end 2011, a 40-basis-point improvement from last year. However, expected spending cuts could adversely impact this segment in the coming months as many of these positions are heavily reliant on the government’s Medicare and Medicaid spending.

The professional and business services sector added 28,000 jobs for the second consecutive month in August, offsetting modest cuts and gains in most other private-employment sectors, Nadji said. Since the beginning of the year, this segment has added 35% of the new jobs in the country, fueling net absorption of more than 8 million square feet of office space. However, until these high-paying positions translate into ancillary positions, the unemployment rate will remain near 9%. (credit m, heschmeyer, co-star)

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