RALEIGH – Job losses in the US have climbed above 36 million and the jobless figure is moving toward 20 percent, but CBRE, a global commercial real estates servicces provider and research firm  with significant operations in the Triangle, is forecasting a rapid return of hiring and most lost jobs being recovered by the end of 2021.

CBRE cites the fact that a growing number of states are relaxing “stay at home orders” and allowing businesses to reopen. Most businesses are forecast as being allowed to reopen by the end of June.

“Most states are expected to begin restarting their economies by the end of Q2. More than 80% of employment is driven by economies that may begin reopening by mid-Q2, providing enough time to begin showing job recreation by the end of June,” CBRE says in a new report

“This timeline would pave the way for a much-needed return by many affected workers beginning in Q3.”

CBRE chart

CBRE projects a return to an under 5% jobless rate by the end of next year. But that’s still a percentage point higher than the under 4% before the pandemic struck, triggering massive job cuts.

“The record number of jobs lost over the past two months should begin coming back in Q3 and be largely regained by the end of 2021,” CBRE says.

“Over the past several weeks, 33.5 million workers filed initial claims for unemployment [with another 3 million added to the total Thursday], indicating that the 23 million jobs gained over the past 10 years were suddenly erased,” the report notes. “Jobs lost in April alone totaled 20.5 million—the largest one-month drop in the post-World War II period.”

CBRE chart

But there is a bright spot.

“The good news is that most job losses were reported as ‘temporary’ and should begin returning in Q3 as an expected economic recovery takes hold,” CBRE says.

CBRE’s analysis projects:

  • One-third of the jobs lost in Q2 are expected to be regained in Q3
  • Office-using employment is expected to return 40% to 50% of its lost jobs by Oct. 1
  • Retail and restaurants will regain only 25% to 30%

That expected shift to work also should benefit corporate real estate beginning shortly thereafter.

Getting people back to work “is an important piece of the recovery story for real estate markets,” CBRE adds. “With a jobs market rebound in Q3, a real estate recovery should follow beginning in 2021.”

Job losses by profession

CBRE chart