Various Businesses Hiring in October; Apartment Industry Growing; Manufacturing Expanding

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ October employment numbers noted that a fairly wide variety of businesses were doing some net hiring during the month. The National Multi Housing Council reported last week in its latest Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions that during the third quarter of this year, apartment market conditions are indeed still improving. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index pointed to U.S. manufacturing expansion in October, the second month of expansion following three months of slight contraction earlier this year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ October employment numbers noted that a fairly wide variety of businesses were doing some net hiring during the month. For example, professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in October, while health care added 31,100 positions. Retail trade added 36,000 jobs, with notable gains in motor vehicles and parts dealers. In fact, retail trade has added 82,000 jobs over the past three months, with most of the gain occurring in motor vehicles and parts dealers, as well as clothing and accessories stores.

The bureau also reported, in a statement along with the standard release of the October employment numbers, that “Hurricane Sandy had no discernible effect on the employment and unemployment data for October. Household survey data collection was completed before the storm, and establishment survey data collection rates were within normal range nationally and for the affected areas.”

November might be a different story, though the impact of the storm on employment (as opposed to other costs) is hard to predict at this point. A certain number of people in the most heavily affected states—New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania—might lose their employment at least temporarily. On the other hand, relief and reconstruction efforts in those places will create employment, at least temporarily.

Apartment Industry Growing a Bit More Slowly

The National Multi Housing Council reported last week in its latest Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions that during the third quarter of this year, apartment market conditions are indeed still improving. In fact, markets improved in the areas that the survey measures for the seventh quarter in a row, but the pace of improvement has moderated.

The survey’s indexes measuring Market Tightness (56), Sales Volume (51), Equity Financing (56) and Debt Financing (65) all measured at 50 or higher in the third quarter, which means growth from the previous quarter. All of those numbers were lower than during the second quarter, however, meaning a slower pace of growth—the market tightness index dropped from 76 to 56, for instance, and the debt financing index declined from 77 to 65, with the other indexes experiencing more modest drops.

Only 21 percent of respondents reported acquisition capital being similarly available for all geographic markets and properties. Construction financing was even more restricted, with just 8 percent of respondents saying that construction financing for new apartments was available in all markets for all property types. The vast majority reported construction financing as only available for either the top properties in the top markets (37 percent) or for all property types in the top markets (36 percent).

ISM Says Manufacturing Expanding Again

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index pointed to U.S. manufacturing expansion in October, the second month of expansion following three months of slight contraction earlier this year, according to the organization late last week. The PMI was at 51.7 percent in October, up from 51.5 percent in September. The employment index was at 52.1 percent, down from 54.7 percent, while the new orders index came in at 54.2 percent, up from 52.3 percent.

After its spike on Thursday, Wall Street roughly lost all of the gains on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 139.46 points, or 1.05 percent. The S&P 500 was down 0.94 percent, while the Nasdaq declined 1.26 percent.