What does dry cleaning have to do with vacancy rates?

I saw a study from Rutgers Business School called the “Dry Cleaner Index” which correlates dry cleaning receipts to New Jersey economic trends. The idea is that an increase in dry cleaning receipts indicates an uptick in hiring and an expanding state economy. Their data shows a macroeconomic expansion for the state.

This should also be a great leading indicator for the condition of the corporate real estate market in New Jersey. While interest rates, capitalization rates, and sales investment sales volume are frequently pointed to as corporate real estate activity, what really drives the market are butts in seats. Companies that are in hiring mode right now are going to need space to accommodate all those new hires.

Vacancy rates and employment move in an inverse lock-step. As hiring increases, vacancy rates will slowly come down. New Jersey’s lackluster corporate real estate market should start to improve, continuing to build on the high-demand markets that have already seen an uptick in activity.

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