For the second month in a row, U.S. firms active in the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets blasted past hiring expectations, adding 273,000 net new jobs in February according to last week’s national employment report released by the Commerce Department.
The unexpectedly strong report, culled from a variety of corporations in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – was further bolstered by revisions to December and January payroll data that added an astounding 85,000 jobs in those months combined, bringing the three-month average job gain to 243,000 per month, a rate not seen since September 2016. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked back down to its 50-year low of 3.5%.
This CoStar Realty Information Inc. report involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made available through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.
The survey of employers related to U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings used to compile this data was administered in the second week of February before it became apparent that the coronavirus outbreak in China had spread throughout much of the globe, including the U.S. A potential preventative vaccine is at least a year or more away, according to health officials, and therapeutic treatment remains uncertain and probably won’t be available until late spring at the earliest.
To avoid widespread transmission, factories in China and other Asian nations had halted operations and workers were isolated or quarantined. Several nations have closed their borders to visitors from impacted areas, and many national and international companies involved with national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties now are restricting business travel.
This has led to interrupted supply chains for manufacturers serving the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space and a drop-off in demand for transportation services as well as travel and tourism-related services. In the U.S., as people avoid large public gatherings and events, leisure and hospitality, live entertainment and retail sectors are likely to be impacted.
While the economic impact of the virus remains unknown, the February jobs report offers insight into the underlying strength of the labor market before impacts from the virus begin to be reflected in the economic data related to national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings. This may suggest the economy’s resilience amid continued uncertainty. – By Christine Cooper, Managing Director and Senior Economist for CoStar Market Analytics, Los Angeles.
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