05/09/2023 – MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY


Employment growth exceeds expectations with 253,000 positions filled

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 253,000 in April, and the unemployment rate changed little at 3.4 percent. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and social assistance. Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.6 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.4 percent, were unchanged in April. These measures remain below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels (63.3 percent and 61.1 percent, respectively).


Unaffordable prices most common reason buyers can’t make purchase

The inability to find an affordable home remains the most common reason buyers looking for 3+ months can’t make a purchase, cited by 40% (compared to 45% who cited it a quarter earlier).  In second place is the inability to find a home with desirable features (35%), followed by the inability to find a home in a desirable neighborhood (33%) and getting outbid (30%).


Asking rents still climbing but more subdued, up 5.3 percent year-on-year

Asking rents climbed by $12, or 0.6%, from March to April, according to the latest edition of the Zillow Observed Rent Index (ZORI). That brings the index to $2,018, for a cumulative 1.3% increase since its recent low point in January, at $1,991. Typical asking rents at the national level now stand at $2,018, which is 5.3% higher than one year ago, and 0.5% higher than the peak of $2,008 observed in September 2022. That annual growth rate is now down almost 12 percentage points from the peak growth rate of 16.9%, the record-high pace reached in February 2022.