MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
November job growth falls to 245,000, unemployment rate edges down to 6.7 percent
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 245,000 in November — well below projections — and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.7 percent. In November, notable job gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, and health care, while declining in government and retail trade. The labor force participation rate edged down to 61.5 percent in November; this is 1.9 percentage points below its February level.
Economic Confidence Index improves more in November, but future outlook remains mostly negative
U.S. consumer views of the nation’s economy became a bit less negative in November, with the Gallup Economic Confidence Index rising to -1 from -4 in October. The index, which had been positive throughout President Donald Trump’s term until March, plunged to -33 in late April amid widespread business and school closures across the country at the start of the pandemic. It has since been improving gradually and is now back to the level seen just before the 2016 election.
Share of new homes sold on spec rises to highest level since 2005
38.5 percent of new-construction homes purchased in October had yet to begin construction, up 10 percentage points from October 2019 and the highest level since 2005. Slightly more than 1 million new homes were sold in both August and September (at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate), and almost 1 million were sold in October, capping the strongest three-month stretch for new home sales since 2006. Single-family home starts through October have risen 73.6% from April lows and are at their highest level since 2007, while multifamily starts have improved by just 37.6% in that same period.
November median home sales price up 16 percent year-on-year to record high
For the 4-week period ending November 29th, the median home sale price increased 16 percent year over year to $322,828, the highest on record. Pending home sales were up 28 percent year over year while active listings fell 29 percent from 2019 to a new all-time low. The average sale-to-list price ratio, which measures how close homes are selling to their asking prices, rose to 99.5 percent—an all-time high and 1.5 percentage points higher than a year earlier.