Housing to help drive employment and economy in 2015

2014 posts fewest job cuts since 1997

Economic job reports show the nation’s employment situation is on the upswing, with housing projected to help further boost the market in 2015.

That's a huge change from just last summer, when Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen, officially declared housing an economic headwind.

In the latest turn of events, a Challenger, Gray & Christmas job-cuts report forecasts that continued improvements in the housing market, the Affordable Care Act and new technology advancements will drive the economy and employment gains this year.

“More homeowners are coming out from being underwater and are eager to put their homes on the market. One just needs to drive around the nation’s cities and suburbs to see that home building activity has picked up significantly in the last six months. There are also a lot more ‘for sale’ signs up in front yards. This activity alone will boost the economy,” said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The past year experienced the fewest planned job cuts since 1997, with cuts dropping for the second consecutive month in December.

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Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas

December job cuts were down 9.2% from 35,940 planned layoffs in November.  However, this was still 7% higher than the same month a year ago, when employers announced 30,623 job cuts, which happened to be the lowest monthly tally in 2013.

As a whole, employers announced job cuts totaling 483,171 in 2014, which is 5% fewer than the 509,051 cuts tracked in 2013.

It was the lowest annual total since 434,350 job cuts were recorded in 1997.

“Layoffs aren’t simply at pre-recession levels; they are at pre-2001-recession levels. This bodes well for job seekers, who will not only find more employment opportunities in 2015, but will enjoy increased job security once they are in those new positions,” said Challenger.

Jobless claims also dropped for the week ended Jan. 3, posting a decreased of 4,000 filings to 294,000 from last week’s unrevised level of 298,000, the U.S. Department of Labor said.  

The 4-week moving average was 290,500, a drop of 250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 290,750.

“The average is trending about 10,000 lower than the month-ago comparison which points to steady improvement underway in the labor market,” analysts with Econoday said about the jobless claims report. 

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