December 2013 economic reports at a glance

8-03-2A round-up of significant economic reports published during the past month with a spotlight on issues impacting corporate real estate.

Fed Beige Book

Economic growth in the Second District [ed. NY Metro area] has continued at a moderate pace since the last report. Contacts report that cost pressures have abated slightly, while selling prices are steady to up moderately. Service sector firms generally indicate a pickup in activity, while contacts in the manufacturing sector report that it has leveled off. Overall, there were no reports of any major disruptive effects from the federal government shutdown. Labor market conditions have continued to improve modestly since the last report, and there has been some upward pressure on wages.

Commercial real estate markets have also been mixed thus far in the fourth quarter. In Manhattan, the outer boroughs, and Long Island, office vacancy rates continue to drift down, while asking rents continue to rise—though only modestly for Class A properties. Northern New Jersey’s office vacancy rate is little changed at a high level, while asking rents are flat. However, in the Westchester/Fairfield markets and across upstate New York, vacancy rates climbed to multi-year highs. Industrial markets have also been mixed, with conditions strengthening noticeably in downstate New York and northern New Jersey, but slackening across upstate New York.

New Jersey Employment

New Jersey’s unemployment rate experienced its largest monthly drop on record, plunging by 0.6 percentage point to 7.8 percent in November, as employers added 16,900 jobs, according to preliminary data released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In November, private sector advances were posted in six of nine major industry sectors, with gains being measured in education and health services (+7,500), leisure and hospitality (+4,000), trade, transportation and utilities (+3,400), other services (+2,500), manufacturing (+2,500) and information (+2,200). Decreases occurred in professional and business services (-6,700), construction (-1,000), and finance (-300).

Department of Commerce Construction Spending

Total Office Construction spending decreased -2.7% from October 2012 to October 2013 due to a significant decrease in public office construction spending.

Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey

U.S. Consumer Confidence Rebounds in December

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had decreased in November, rebounded in December. The Index now stands at 78.1 (1985=100), up from 72.0 in November.

Consumers’ appraisal of overall current conditions improved…. Consumers’ expectations, which had decreased in November, improved in December… Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was considerably more optimistic.

November 2013 Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business

Business Activity Index at 55.5%
New Orders Index at 56.4%
Employment Index at 52.5%

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in November for the 47th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.

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