• Job Openings Decline, Rental Vacancy Drops Slightly, Office Attendance Ticks Lower

    Job Openings Decline

    U.S. job openings totaled 10.7 million at the end of June, down from 11.3 million in May and potentially signaling a hiring slowdown in what remains a historically strong employment market.

    Labor Department figures released Tuesday showed June’s figure for total openings was the lowest since September, even as the June unemployment rate came in at a low 3.6% for the fourth consecutive month. July’s jobless rate has yet to be announced.

    June’s 6.4 million hirings and 5.9 million total separations, including resignations and layoffs, were both on par with May’s numbers. The largest declines in job openings during June were in the retail trade, down 343,000 from the prior month, followed by the wholesale trade’s drop of 82,000 and local government and education’s decline of 62,000.

    Also Tuesday, a monthly employment index report showed small business hiring slowing for the fifth consecutive month in July, though the pace of hiring was still slightly higher than a year ago. The report from payroll services provider Paychex and consulting firm IHS Markit also said the pace of wage increases by small businesses slowed in July from the prior month, with a growth rate of 5.08% down slightly from June’s 5.13%.

    “For nearly two years, businesses added staff at a rapid pace to make up for the losses experienced during the pandemic,” Paychex CEO Martin Mucci said in a statement. “While the growth rate has slowed, additional analysis of our client base indicates demand for workers continues to be robust while the shortage of available applicants is slowing the overall job growth rate.”

    Rental Vacancy Drops Slightly

    The national vacancy rate for rental housing was 5.6% in the second quarter, down 0.6 percentage points from the same quarter of 2021 and slightly lower than the first quarter’s 5.8%, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

    The numbers echo other brokerage and analyst reports pointing to rising rents in many parts of the U.S., with a lack of new construction contributing to low supplies, tight vacancies and escalating prices. Commerce data showed the national rental vacancy rate at 6.8% in the second quarter of 2018, and it has since been declining annually.

    The Commerce Department also reported the nation’s homeownership rate at 65.8% in the second quarter, about on par with the 65.4% in both 2021’s second quarter and this year’s first quarter. The latest numbers, going back 20 years, show homeownership reached a peak of 69.2% in the fourth quarter of 2004 and has since fluctuated within the mid- to high-60% range.

    Rising prices and mortgage rates have brought new obstacles to homeownership this year, keeping potential buyers in the rental pool and raising demand for apartments in many regions.

    Office Attendance Ticks Lower

    Office attendance declined by seven-tenths of a point for the week ending July 27, to 44%, coming down from the prior week’s figure that marked a pandemic high for Kastle System’s gauge of office use in 10 large U.S. cities.

    The security technology firm’s "Back to Work Barometer," based on anonymous keycard data from clients’ properties, showed 9 of 10 cities posting small or modest weekly declines in attendance, measured as a percentage of pre-pandemic office use. The one exception was Los Angeles, which saw attendance rise two-tenths of a point to 42%.

    Maintaining patterns of the past several weeks, Austin, Texas, led the pack at 57.6%, followed by Houston and Dallas, with Chicago a distant fourth. Most cities in the Kastle barometer have yet to crack 50% since the start of the pandemic.

    Source: www.CoStar.com