CHICAGO-A large amount of job losses in the first quarter is just another indicator that we’re now in a recession, which should have an obvious detrimental impact on both commercial real estate development and leasing activity, says Bob Bach, SVP and chief economist for Grubb & Ellis Co. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bach says, the first quarter saw 232,000 jobs lost, putting the year on par with similar periods, including the recessions of 2001, 1980 and even 1974.

However, Bach tells he tells this to put comfort in the hearts of readers, rather than fear. “Yes, I think we’re in a recession, but despite all the negativity, the first three months haven’t been all that bad,” he says. “The loss of jobs hasn’t been as much compared to the first three months in prior recessions. Some might say that I’m grasping at straws, because the data is subject to revision, but I thought people could use a little good news.”

He uses a graph to show that in the past six recessions since 1969, job loss in Q1 has been worse, especially in 1980, where more than 1% of job-holders lost employment, and in 1974, where more than 1.6% went jobless. This past quarter had less than a quarter of a percent of job loss. “This does lend credence to the view that the recession could be shallow,” Bach says.

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