The total investment return for the seniors housing sector was a positive 0.71% in the fourth quarter of 2020. This marked the second consecutive quarterly gain after one quarter of negative returns in the second quarter of 2020 when total returns were negative 1.00%; that marked the first negative total return since 2012 and prior to that in 2009.
The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by 379,000 in February and that the unemployment rate edged lower to 6.2% from 6.3% in January. The jobless rate remains 2.7 percentage points above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5% seen in February 2020, but well below the 14.7% peak seen in April. Despite the February increase, job levels are 9.5 million below the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020 (6.2%), with 3.5 million of that gap in the leisure and hospitality sectors. The consensus estimates for February had been for a gain of 200,000. Private service-producing jobs increased by 513,000, led by a rise of 355,000 jobs in leisure and hospitality payrolls as pandemic-related restrictions began to be relaxed and restaurant re-openings occurred. Health care added 20,000 jobs in January; this followed a loss of 85,000 in January. Nursing care facilities lost 12,000 jobs in February.
The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls inched up by 49,000 in January and that the unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 6.3%. The consensus estimates for January had been for a gain of 105,000 jobs. Through January, 9.9 million jobs have been lost since February. Health care declined by 39,000 jobs in January, with losses in nursing care facilities (down 19,000), home health care services (down 13,000) and community care facilities for the elderly (down 7,000). Since February, health care employment is down by 542,000.
The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls fell by 140,000 in December and that the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7%. This was the first decline in jobs since April and reflects the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and efforts to contain the pandemic.