Last week’s unemployment report, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that the unemployment rate did in go up considerably from 7.0% to 6.7%, but the real news wasn’t the rate of unemployment but the rate at which individuals are leaving the workforce. Nearly 347,000 workers leftreal estate looking good the job market altogether, forcing the labor participation rate to reach a low not seen in more than three decades.

The labor participation rate is the percentage of workers who are either employed or if not employed, actively looking for work. For purposes of financing future real estate acquisitions, this news has some important implications for investors.

As so many workers leave, the housing market will slow. Yes, we’re currently in the “slow” period now, in the middle of winter, but the housing market should awaken from its slumber in just a couple of months, as sellers prepare to list their real estate for the buying public. Yet if there are fewer workers, there will be fewer who can qualify for a mortgage. Those that already own a home will be more likely to keep it rather than find another in which to live or sell the existing property and downsize. Home values have been on a gradual rise for nearly two years straight but the key word is indeed “gradual” rather than “spiking.” That trend indicates that while home values will increase, in the overall market the increases should be manageable. Read: little chance of a bubble.

Fewer home buyers don’t mean that there are fewer people, only that qualifying for a mortgage may be difficult for them. But they still need a place to live and that means a greater demand for rental housing and the resultant increase in rental income for those who own rental properties. The numbers last week were a bit out of the ordinary so it’s possible that an adjustment will be made and announced next February. But until then, it looks like good news again for real estate investors.