The real estate industry, which includes the rental and leasing sector, added 7,100 jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The modest gains come at a time when unemployment remains high at 6.3 percent on the heels of the U.S. adding just 49,000 jobs.

“The labor market continued to be impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” William Beach, the commissioner of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, said in a statement. “Notable job gains in professional and business services and in both public and private education were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.”

Without adjusting for seasonal effects, the real estate industry actually lost approximately 30,000 new jobs, and there are still more than 100,000 fewer individuals employed in the sector versus January 2020, prior to the pandemic hitting the U.S.

The residential building sector also saw positive gains, adding approximately 3,100 new jobs, a positive sign for future housing supply, according to Odeta Kushi, the senior economist at First American.

“For the housing market, the gain in residential construction employment bodes well for more supply,” Kushi said, on Twitter. “The ratio of housing starts to construction employment is finally approaching pre-global financial crisis levels. More hammers, more homes.”

Email Patrick Kearns

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