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The Week Ahead: Eye on Employment

home builders

home buildersOn April 2, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its employment data for March. February's data saw unemployment fall to 3.8 percent. According to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), February’s strong labor market impacted the Fed’s decision to hold out on a rate hike.

The FOMC also noted that inflation has declined in the past year, citing lower energy prices, though inflation for items other than food and energy has remained at around two percent. In a statement. The FOMC stated that a rate hike may still be possible.

“The Committee continues to view sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective as the most likely outcomes,” said the FOMC in a statement. “In light of global economic and financial developments and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate to support these outcomes.”

Despite strong labor gains in other sectors, the housing industry has recently seen a shortage of labor. According to NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index [1], more than four out of five builders expect to face serious challenges regarding the cost and availability of labor in 2019.

“Compared to the supply-side problems of materials, labor and lots, problems attracting buyers were not as widespread last year, but builders expect many of them to become more of a problem in 2019. Negative media reports making buyers caution was a significant problem for 48 percent of builders in 2018, but 62 percent expect it to be a problem in 2019,” Chaluvadi said. He also noted that concern about employment/economic situation was a problem for only 28 percent of builders in 2018, but 46 percent expect it to be a problem this year.

Here’s what else is happening in the Week Ahead.