WASHINGTON, DC—Friday's release of May's employment numbers by the Bureau of LaborStatistics pointed to an economy that is in steady,albeit hardly spectacular, expansion mode. The 217,000 jobscreated—in many CRE-supporting industries—essentially assured thewatching world that the dismal Q1 economic growth, or lack thereof,was largely a factor of the winter weather.

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The statistics also plays into a growing narrative that businessinvestment is increasing or at least poised to increase. One keydriver of that demand, of course, is the willingness of banks tolend to such projects.

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At this point in the recovery cycle, that appears to be asettled issue.

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The most recent evidence comes from the American BankersAssociation's committee of 13 bank chief economists, whichpredicted on Friday after the Labor Department released its figures, that business lending will grow at a near double-digitrate over the next couple of years. Banks, said EAC ChairmanChristopher Low, chief economist of First HorizonNational Corp.'s FTN Financial, "stand ready to meet demand asbusinesses take the next step forward."

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Another favorable indication came recently from theFederal Reserve Bank's April 2014 Senior Loan Officer OpinionSurvey on Bank Lending Practices. It reported that onbalance, banks eased their lending policies for commercial andindustrial and commercial real estate loans. At the same time,these institutions reported stronger demand for both types of loansover the quarter.

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Concerns, though, are growing at least in the commercial realestate sector that the delicate balance between easing loanconditions, banking's willingness to lend and demand from borrowersbecause they want to invest may be thrown off kilter if interestrates rise—which they could well do, sooner rather than later, ifthe economy continues on its steady track.

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That issue was raised by Cushman &Wakefield in an analysis it released about Friday'semployment numbers.

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The combination of healthy, steady job growth along withpositive underlying details suggests that the economy is nowentering a new phase of growth, it said, which will lead to fasterincome growth, rising household demand and a stronger housingsector.

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"This outlook, if it comes through, means that the FederalReserve will continue to steadily taper its purchases of long termsecurities in the months ahead and will begin to set the stage forhigher interest rates late this year and in early 2015."

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Also, National Association of Realtors chiefeconomist Lawrence Yun, raised similar concerns atthe end of May, cautioning that rising long-term interest rateswere on the horizon and that consistent economic growth wasimperative to solid commercial real estate investment in the yearsahead.

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"Years ahead" though may be the operative phrase at least for2014, where it appears all but certain that the Fed will keepinterest rates low, at least based on previous statements it hasmade on the subject. For companies taking only a short-term look attheir industry—not to be recommended of course—the view is verynice.

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"For the commercial real estate sector, the economicfundamentals are getting better," Cushman & Wakefield said inits report. "Job growth will boost demand for office space, incomegrowth will boost retail sales and rising consumer demand will leadto stronger growth in manufacturing and distribution."

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