In some previous posts, I discussed the fact that population trends are a key defining characteristic of real estate markets. And, I also pointed out that employment trends were a key driver behind population trends.
So, where can you find good information about population and employment trends? Two great places to start are the Census Bureau (the U.S. government agency tasked with collecting data about the U.S. population and economy) and The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (a part of the U.S. government Department of Labor that’s tasked with collecting facts and statistics around U.S. labor trends).
The Census Bureau collects all kinds of information about people, households, income, etc, including:
- National and Regional Population Estimates
- National and Regional Population Projections
- Housing Statistics (Homeownership, Vacancy, Affordability, etc)
- Income Statistics
- Local Employment Dynamics
- And a Whole Lot More Good Stuff
Unlike other agencies that provide only historic data, the BLS provides both historic and forward-looking trend data based on various models they have derived.
As an example of how the BLS data can be used, I decided to try to dig up information about employment and population trends in and around Atlanta, GA, where I will likely be starting my investing. Here is just a sample of the data I found:
- Historic Statewide Labor Force Data (by Month)
- Historic MSA-Wide Labor Force Data (by Month)
- Population Growth Projections Through 2015 (by County)
- Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (within MSA)
- Local Consumer Price Index (CPI) Data
- A link to the Georgia Department of Labor
If you’re doing market research to determine where to invest in real estate, let me suggest you bookmark both of the resources above.