With the announcement today from the Department of Labor that the unemployment rate dropped to 9.7% in January, lots of real estate types are beginning to wonder if the report is a very early signal of recovery – not just generally but also in commercial real estate. Admittedly, we have a long way to go before office using employment leads to any significant absorption, but the DOL numbers are a concrete sign. Correlate this with increased activity by office using tenants in many major markets, and we may be seeing the beginning of the end of a very tough real estate cycle.

Of course, if a recovery is underway, it is nascent and many things could set us off course. But I think you could fill many blog posting with all the dangers in the world.

The critical thing to note is that not only has office using unemployment stopped getting significantly worse, but it appears to be headed the other way. And if it keeps up, it will eventually make most everything OK in commercial real estate.

 Ken Ashley