June 2014 – A Snapshot of the US Economy

The US economy has steadily continued to add jobs for the past 56 months. Employers added 217,000 jobs in May, a substantial gain for a fourth straight month.

On June 3, the Labor Department released a report that showed the U.S. economy is steadily strengthening and outpacing struggling countries in Europe and Asia. Overall unemployment for the 18 countries that use the euro was 11.7 percent in April, though some European nations, such as Germany and Denmark, have much lower rates.

Consumers are showing more confidence. Auto sales have surged. Manufacturers are expanding steadily.   We  reached a significant milestone: Nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, the economy has finally regained all the jobs lost in the downturn.  While good news there are still do not participate  in that bounty.  The share of Americans who are employed is stalled below 59 percent, of the entire population well below the 63.3 percent peak in March 2007 and 64.7 percent of April 2000.

Weak wage growth has limited Americans’ ability to spend. That, in turn, slows growth, because consumer spending drives about 70 percent of economic activity downs from 72% six  years ago. Consumer spending in particular drives retails sales, and helps determine rents and revenues for operators of commercial shopping and retail centers.

Still, most economists expect annualized growth to reach 3 percent to 3.5 percent in the current quarter and to top 3 percent for the rest of the year.  Inflation has held steady at close to two per cent.

In reading Dr Bill Connerly’s Businomics monthly newsletter he expects interest rates to remain stable through mid-year of 2015, which should help the economy to keep steadily trundling  along, although he does feel there is about a 12% chance of a recession occurring.

He includes in his newsletter a series of graphs that show the economic activity of both Portland and Seattle.  Both look very positive.  We expect all of these factors will keep our Clark County economic prospects moving forward, and activity in the commercial real estate sector holding steady as we cross into the third quarter of 2014.


Jim West is a Commercial Realtor in Vancouver Washington. His specialty is helping local companies Stop Leasing! and Own their business property. He also works as a Tenant Representative - assisting companies to locate and negotiate a successful Lease for their business operations. He has a public workshop series called Commercial Property Success Series.

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