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Let’s start of with the good news and that is the number of furloughed – or temporarily laid-off – workers is dropping but it still came in at 3.2 million – even if that is down from a peak of 18 million back in April.

Of course, 1.4 million fewer furloughed workers allowed the unemployment rate to drop a lot – breaking back below 7% and a full percentage point lower than it was in September which is spells some hopeful signs for the Boston real estate market

Next the Bad News for the Boston Condo Market

But you will also see that the number of permanent layoffs continues to rise. That number is now at 3.7 million, it is down from 3.8 million seen in September, but the trend is still headed higher.

Now you see, this is very worrying, and gives me another reason to believe that a full recovery in jobs is still a long way away.


Bar chart showing the various unemployment rates between U-3 which is dark blue, and U-6 which is light blue


The number of people out of work for more than six months surged by 1.2 million. Today, around a third of all unemployed persons have been out of work for at least six months and the October rate is also quickly approaching the peak seen during the aftermath of the Great Recession when about 45% of unemployed workers were out of work more than half a year.



Line graph showing the number of people unemployed for more than 27 weeks


The number of people working in America today is back at a level last seen in late 2015 and, at October’s pace, it would still take about another 16 months for employment to return to its pre-pandemic level.

I still expect that we will see a slow return to work, but the numbers are likely to remain muted until a vaccine or inoculation is not only freely available – but it has to be one that we feel comfortable taking as well.

Boston Real Estate and the Economy

The bottom line is that the report could have been worse, but it could also have been better too.

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