It might not feel like a jobs boom to many, but damn! Does it get much better than this!?
Check out the historical unemployment charts for the United States, California, San Francisco, and the greater Bay Area.. Some interesting stuff! Wonder what the Fed is going to do next time.. Just a reminder of where you are buying in the economic cycle :) (If you don't care about CA or the SF Bay, skip to the bottom for US)
I'm not a chartist, but I was surprised how regularly unemployment in CA reverts relatively quickly after getting down to almost exactly 5.0% in the last few decades.. 5.7% as of Nov 2015. If CA unemployment continues it's current pace of dropping about 10-20bp per month, it would be back at 5% by Summer 2016. Again, who knows.. But interesting.. And look how fast unemployment goes up, relative to how slow it goes down!
*Keep in the back of your mind while reading all this that the Fed has ALWAYS lowered rates at least 300bp (3%) in every past recession to cushion the fallout.*
For San Francisco... wow! Bouncing from 3.2% to 3.4% with what looks like some seasonal fluctuations.. Past the 2006 boom, and approaching tech bubble levels. Good times! The winds are at our back folks, and historically, they don't blow much more, before they start blowing in our face! How much lower does it typically get, how long does it stay that way, and what tends to happen afterward? What is that grey area..? Hmmm..
That's just SF J! What about the rest of the Bay? Well.. things are booming!
Here's the SF / Oakland / Fremont MSA Unemployment rate. At 3.9% now, it has bounced around the 2006 boom levels. A year ago in Nov 2014, it was 4.9%, a full percentage point higher. It has only gone below 2.9% briefly leading up to the tech bubble. We'll see if it gets back there, and what happens afterward..!
Silicon Valley - The San Jose / Sunnyvale / Santa Clara MSA. Doing great also at 4.0%! However, this is the first one that looks like it is starting to lose it's steam, interestingly enough. Historically, it has gone lower in prior booms, and has sputtered in the past, before steaming ahead to the end, then entering a recession. So maybe it still has some room to go. It was at 4.9% a year ago, almost a percentage point higher. It's only breached 3% in the tech bubble. (This is a seasonally adjusted smoothed chart, like the CA chart, so I'll get the regular one later..)
But J! That's just the Bay Area!
The rest of the country is just recovering from the last crisis still! OK OK.. Here's nationwide unemployment. Not quite as "on the verge" as SF and the Bay, but hmmm... Down to 5.0% in Nov 2015. In Nov 2014, it was 5.8%. If continuing at that rate, it would be down to 4.2% by the end of 2016 - and only breached that level in the hot '99/2000 market, which is the lowest unemployment watermark for almost all areas. As low as 4-5% in the last 3 recessions.
The Sky is Falling!!!!
This is not any sort of dooms-day calling for RE or the economy. It's a simple statement that just like unemployment, jobs, incomes, and RE, things go up.. and things go down.. cycles. Are we in the early, middle, or late stage of an expansionary cycle? What's the Fed going to do next time when they can't lower rates 300bp or more to help the economy out? (negative rates? buying securities more broadly?) It seems like a lot of long-term investors make more money buying when the charts are the other way around. So go enjoy yourself for a bit, sock away some cash, and I'll see you in a couple/few years! ;)
@Minh Le , do you see the same kind of regularity with unemployment as you do with HAI? It seems like they have some barriers that come around at the top of each cycle, then tend to revert afterwards.. What do you think about the slowdown in the SJ MSA?
great analysis. Thanks.
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