NEW YORK CITY—It's not uninterrupted blue skies for employmentmetrics, but the latest round of labor statistics shows thosemetrics continuing to trend upward. That's especially the case whencontrasted with a spate of surprisingly bad economic news fromacross the pond. So says Ken McCarthy, seniormanaging director, economic analysis and forecasting atCushman & Wakefield.

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“If you look at things like the GDP and certain measures ofconsumer outlays, then not everything is running very strong rightnow,” McCarthy tells GlobeSt.com, in reference to FederalReserve chair Janet Yellen telling theSenate Tuesday that there are still “mixed signals” in the economy.However, McCarthy is of the view that the first quarter'scomparatively weak performance was an anomaly, while the economyrebounded “a pretty healthy clip” in Q2.

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And that momentum carried through to the numbers that came outlast week. A report from McCarthy notes that the latest monthlysurvey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses shows26% of respondents saying that jobs have become harder to fill, thehighest level since early 2007.

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Meanwhile, the Bureau of LaborStatistics reported that the number of job openingsnationwide rose to 4.6 million last month, the highest level inseven years. Conversely, according to the C&W report, thenumber of people filing for unemployment dropped to 304,000 in thelatest week and has remained below 325,000 for a month and a half.Then there was the previous week's jobs report, in which theeconomy added 288,000 positions during June and the unemploymentrate dropped to 6.1%.

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“There are other indicators that are stillmodest,” McCarthy points out. “Consumer spending, while it's notcontracting, is not booming. But we're starting to see more signalsthat labor markets are tightening and that businesses are gettingmore aggressive in hiring. You need to have these things happeningto get the economy to the next level.”

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Among other requirements, McCarthy says, “Youneed to have businesses more focused on the top line than on costcutting. And we're starting to see that. When that happens, they'remore ready to take risk and more ready to hire in anticipation offuture growth, as opposed to hiring only when they actually seeit.”

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The latest news from Europe hasn't been nearlyas positive. Last week, “all the major countries reported onmanufacturing production in May, and output unexpectedly declinedsharply in every country,” according to the C&W report. InFrance, output fell -1.7%, Germany recorded a -1.8% drop, Italy a-1.2% decline and even the U.K., which has been the strongest majoreconomy in Europe, saw manufacturing productionfall -0.7% in May.”

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However, McCarthy cautions against making toomuch of the European statistics. “You have to be careful not toover-interpret one month's numbers,” he says, noting that they alsooccurred at a time when the crisis in the Ukraine was rampingup.

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And there's reason for cautious optimism inEurope, as well. “In Europe, the recovery has boosted most realestate markets, and will likely continue to do so,” although thesustainability of growth is a concern, McCarthy writes. And, hetells GlobeSt,com, there's also reason to hope that this is thecase: “For the US, it's better to have Europe growing thancontracting. That's especially true for those of us on the EastCoast, since Europe is a strong export market.”

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.