Fannie Mae's chief economist, Doug Duncan, weighed in on today's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, saying the GSE maintains its "forecast of solid economic growth" in response to the data released.
"Today’s encouraging jobs report also is consistent with results from our September National Housing Survey, to be released next week, which is expected to show a rebound in consumer expectations regarding housing after a couple of months of eroding confidence," Duncan said. "Overall, we maintain our forecast of solid economic growth – fueled by steady job gains – for the remainder of the year, which should help build momentum for consumer housing sentiment, setting up for a stronger housing recovery in 2015."
The data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the labor force added 248,000 jobs nationwide in September, topping expectations by about 33,000. The number of jobs added pushed the nation's unemployment rate down to 5.9 percent, its lowest level since July 2008. The new report also revised August's originally weak employment gains, which when first reported fell well below expectations.
"Today’s report confirmed our expectation that much of the weakness in the August hiring number would be revised away," Duncan said. "The improved job gains over the past six months, combined with other economic data, support our forecast for firming economic growth in the second half of 2014. The decline in the unemployment rate, though due partly to a shrinking labor force, will get the attention of Federal Reserve officials, but the muted wage gains may help soothe their concerns over brewing wage inflation."
The upward revisions of job gains in July and August totaled 69,000 more jobs added, which raised the average monthly job gain in the third quarter up to 224,000 – a modest decline from the 267,000 monthly average job increase reported for the second quarter.