Real estate employers added about as many jobs in September as would normally be expected this time of year, despite the market downturn.

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Real estate jobs kept their payrolls steady in October, adding jobs at a relatively expected clip for this time of year while lagging the pace of hiring seen elsewhere in the U.S. economy.

Real estate employers — a category that includes the offices of real estate agents and brokers among other services — shaved a seasonally adjusted 900 jobs from their payrolls from September to October, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In real terms, about 19,000 more people were working in this 1.8-million-worker category in October than were a month earlier. But at a time of year when payrolls tend to rise, an increase this small is considered par for the course on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the government’s data.

These numbers come amid a jobs report that showed strong but slowing hiring across the country.

“Job growth for October was slightly stronger than expected, with a gain of 261,000 jobs,” Joel Kan, vice president and deputy chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, said in a statement. “The number of jobs added to the economy did slow from September’s total, but this was still a strong positive gain that kept the monthly average for 2022 at over 400,000 jobs added per month.”

The number of nonfarm jobs rose 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from September to October, and was 3.6 percent higher than at the same time last year. 

By comparison, employment in the real estate category that includes agent offices was up 2.5 percent year over year.

Meanwhile residential construction payrolls were mostly unchanged from September to October. A bump in hiring by homebuilders was offset but a decline in jobs for residential trade contractors. Employment in these combined groups was up 3.4 percent year over year.

“Most of the October growth was in the service sector, while the goods producing industries saw the lowest gain since January 2022,” Kan said in the statement. “Construction employment was essentially flat over the month, consistent with the slowdown in the home building sector.”

While some prominent real estate companies have resorted to layoffs this year — including recently the iBuyer Opendoor — more people are working in the industry than were a year ago. These hiring gains over the past year have come despite mortgage rates that have more than doubled, demand for homes that has weakened, and price drops that have been hitting agent commissions and homebuilder bottom lines alike.

And in the intermediate term, the Federal Reserve’s ongoing efforts to combat inflation could keep mortgage rates higher for longer.

“The easing in wage growth might help reduce some inflationary pressure, but we expect the Federal Reserve to continue its current course of policy tightening until there is broader evidence of cooling inflation,” Kan said in the statement.

Email Daniel Houston

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