"Monthly Payroll Job Change | Seasonally Adjusted"

The Labor Department’s Employment Situation report for November, released on Friday, is reminiscent of the reports in May and June. The net gain of 39,000 payroll jobs last month – 50,000 private sector jobs added minus the 11,000 government jobs lost – is in the same ballpark as May (+51,000 private jobs) and June (+61,000 private jobs). These are well short of the 200,000 or so needed to bring down the unemployment rate. Another similarity between the latest report and those from last spring is that they dashed analysts' expectations for accelerating growth. Instead, the economy remains mired in a half-speed recovery, vulnerable to shocks such as debt troubles in Europe and inflation in China. Prescriptions for the economy run the gamut from additional stimulus spending, a political non-starter, to budget cuts intended to reassure businesses and investors (the antithesis of stimulus spending). But the fact is that recessions caused by a financial crisis such as the one we just experienced are significantly worse, and the recoveries slower, than those caused when the Federal Reserve tightens credit to ward off inflation – the typical end to an economic expansion. Thus, no matter what the policy response from the government, the economy may have to endure the half-speed recovery awhile longer before stronger growth takes hold. For commercial real estate, this will mean a sluggish recovery in market fundamentals such as absorption and rents. Investors may remain enamored with core properties in 2011 because the improving fundamentals that help support opportunistic investment strategies will be slow to emerge.