New labor statistics released yesterday showed that Colorado's unemployment rate rose 0.2% in March, to 7.9%. Nationally, the unemployment rate was reported at 9.7%. Twenty four states showed in an increase in unemployment during March, despite the federal government hiring thousands of temporary census workers.
To me, the jobless rate is directly tied to the housing market. As I've said in past postings, I don't believe there is anything as a "jobless recovery". An increase in the unemployment rate tells me the housing market is probably going to limp along, at least in the near term, without any break in the pattern we have seen over the past 18 months. And that pattern is strength at the low end of the market, softness in the middle, and very little improvement with the high end of the market.
If you're looking for a trigger, it will be with the jobless rate. If Colorado's unemployment rate had fallen 0.2%, to me that would be a big deal. And I would be telling my $250,000 - $400,000 buyers to get in fast, because improvement is coming.
But yesterday's numbers tell me it's going to be more of the same. Caution will continue to be the order of the day.