The Weekly Briefing - March 29th, 2021

The Weekly Briefing – March 29th, 2021

In This Week’s Brief:

  • Early Indicators Point to Likely Robust Jobs Report Later This Week
  • Rocky Mountain Economies Proved Most Resilient to the Pandemic During 2020
  • Market Spotlight: Chicago Suburban Submarkets Outdistancing the Urban Center

Early Indicators Point to Likely Robust Jobs Report Later This Week

The March employment report that is scheduled for release on Friday is likely to show a healthier pace of job creation as the recovery continues to strengthen. Bloomberg Economics forecasts a net gain of 650,000 jobs during March, compared to a cumulative increase of 239,000 nonfarm payrolls over the past three months.

Opportunity Insights data suggests job posting totals have climbed to the highest level since the start of the pandemic, based on an analysis of more than 40,000 online job boards. Postings for jobs with minimal educational and experience requirements have achieved the most rapid increases.

In a similar vein, LinkedIn’s most recent labor market report indicates the pace of new job listings has accelerated to above pre-pandemic levels in nine major industries. From a regional perspective, both Miami and Atlanta are hiring at a faster clip than before the pandemic. Hard-hit New York and San Francisco have posted large monthly gains, but they remain below employment levels seen one year ago.

Small and independently owned businesses may not be sharing in the job creation, however. The NFIB’s small business sentiment index registered only marginal improvement last month and remains below the historical average. And small business revenue continues to hover at around -30.0% below the January 2020 average, according to Opportunity Insights.

Rocky Mountain Economies Proved Most Resilient to the Pandemic During 2020

Economic activity in Rocky Mountain states fell only -1.5% YOY last year, the smallest decline among major regions and 200 basis points better than the national decrease in output. Utah ranked as the top performing state with activity barely slowing -0.1% YOY last year. Utah’s labor force participation rate has dropped since the onset of the pandemic but stands 5.7 percentage points above the U.S. figure.

Rocky Mountain states Idaho and Colorado also ranked in the top five states in economic performance with output slowing -1.1% YOY and -1.5% YOY, respectively. At 3.3%, Idaho boasts the sixth lowest unemployment rate in the country. At first glance, Colorado’s unemployment rate of 6.6% appears substantially higher, but the state’s labor force participation rate has recovered rapidly to just below pre-pandemic levels, and the higher participation rate skews the official unemployment figure upward.

Construction counted as the biggest driver of the Rocky Mountain region’s above-trend economic resilience relative to the U.S. As the region has attracted an influx of new residents over the past year, demand for new and existing housing market has risen accordingly, which has resulted in a higher demand for labor. The region’s durable goods manufacturing and information industries also outperformed compared to national trends.

Top Five States in Economic Performance over 2020: Percent Change in Real GDP by State

Market Spotlight: Suburban Chicago Submarkets Outdistancing the Urban Center

Outlying multifamily submarkets in the Chicago metro have proven more durable as lower-density and lower-cost areas nationwide continue to attract more interest from renters amidst the pandemic.

Merrillville increased occupancy a full percentage point to 96.8% and saw rents jump 10.3% YOY last year, swimming against the tide of the Chicago market, which saw rents fall 4.5% YOY. Will County and South Cook County also increased both rents and occupancies last year.

Chicago’s downtown submarkets, on the other hand, count among the hardest hit during the pandemic. The Loop and Streeterville have both observed double-digit percentage declines in rents. And downtown rents could soften further without a recovery in leasing activity as The Loop and Streeterville have some of the largest pipelines of units under construction.

Year-over-Year Multifamily Effective Rent Growth by Submarket


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