Economic data do not get much better than they are now. Reality is, the only reason GDP is not showing much faster growth is, there is nobody left to hire. No matter who I speak with, they say they could do much more business, and make more profit, if they could find anyone with skills to hire. There is nobody who wants to work and has any ability, who is not working today. It does not matter what industry or job position, there is simply nobody left looking for a job unless they are looking to make a change at more money, or they decided to come out of retirement or finished raising a kid. This is a particular issue in construction where real skills are required to be able to safely do the work. There are now construction companies running their own apprentice training programs, and they are hiring ex-cons and others who want to work in a job that pays well. It means construction costs will continue to rise as workers can demand higher wages, and as more training costs are incurred. Less skilled labor means projects take longer to complete and more mistakes happen that are costly to fix. Punch lists get longer and more costly. The bit of good news here is that there are not the workers to build as fast as new development might demand, so supply of all types of real estate assets will be constrained this cycle.

With white unemployment at 3.2%, and wages growing at 3.1%, it means consumers have money. Consumer confidence is at record highs. It is likely to rise further with the new jobs report. Savings rates have been high for the past several years, home prices are back where they had been ten years ago in many markets and most outstanding mortgages are at record low interest rates, so this time around, homeowners are not pressured. They have money to spend and they have high confidence that their job is secure and their wages will continue to rise. Thanks to the tax cuts, bonuses should be good this year. All of this will translate into a very strong Christmas season for retail. It should blow away all records. That will translate into tenants being stronger in your shopping centers and able to pay rents with no problem. It should also translate into landlords being able to raise rents. Brick and mortar retail has learned how to compete effectively with Amazon and Wal Mart online shopping, so there should be much more stability for centers in terms of tenants going out of business.  After this Christmas we will likely see the end of the string of bankruptcies and store closings. Any retailer not making it this Christmas will have to close, and we will likely see the final group of store closings, early in 2019.

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel,, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including and Museums New York magazine.

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