Wednesday, March 29, 2023

JVS Roofing of Jonesboro, Georgia, pays more than $100,000 in fines and back wages

JVS Roofing of Jonesboro, Georgia, has been cited for both safety violations and misclassification of workers following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation.

 The investigations occurred after a 17-year-old worker fell from a job site at a Lowe’s home improvement store in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Mid-South Contractors – operating as Mid-South Roof Systems in Forest Park, Georgia – subcontracted JVS Roofing to perform roofing work atop the Lowe’s store in New Castle at the time of the teen’s injuries.

 “JVS Roofing ignored federal child labor laws and hired an underage employee to do prohibited roofing work,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director John DuMont in Pittsburgh. “In reviewing this incident, our investigators then determined that the employer shortchanged workers an average of $3,000 per employee in earned overtime by misclassifying them as independent contractors.”

 The Wage and Hour Division recovered $92,640 in back wages for the affected workers, and the department has received the employer’s payment of a $6,399 civil money penalty assessed for the child labor violation.

 A subsequent investigation by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found JVS Roofing failed to provide employees with required fall protection, did not provide related training and allowed employees to work without a fall protection system in place.

 OSHA issued the company a citation for four serious safety violations and proposed $16,500 in penalties, which the company has paid.

 “Putting a child to work on a roof is irresponsible and a violation of federal safety laws,” said OSHA Area Director Brendan Claybaugh in Erie, Pennsylvania. “Fall hazards are well-known by employers and they remain a leading cause of serious injury and deaths in the construction industry. There is simply no place for such reckless behavior.”

Agency Wage and Hour Division

Date March 21, 2023

Release Number 23-524-PHI

More at

Friday, March 24, 2023

Georgia unemployment rate and nonfarm payroll numbers unchanged in February

 Georgia Unemployment Rate, January 2022 - February 2023, seasonally adjusted

Georgia’s unemployment rate and its nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in February according to new information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Georgia’s unemployment rate remained at 3.1% in February, the same as recorded in the previous six months.

The state’s labor force grew by 9,201 over the month, the second consecutive month that the labor force has increased by more than 5,000. The number of people employed rose by 7,950, while the number of unemployed increased by 1,251.

Compared to a year ago, the state’s labor force has grown by 52,995, with the number of people employed gaining by 48,415, while the number of unemployed has risen by 4,580.

Nonfarm payroll employment

Georgia’s nonfarm payroll rose by 3,200 workers in February, a much smaller increase than the January revised total of 15,200. The increase was much less than was recorded in February 2022, when the state added 26,300 jobs over the month.

In contrast to prior months, the private sector accounted for less than half of the monthly increase, rising by 1,500 jobs in February.

Industries reporting notable increases over the month included construction (1,300), wholesale trade (1,000), retail trade (3,000), and other services (1,000).

Industries reporting decreases in payrolls included professional and business services (-3,300), information (-1,500), and manufacturing (-1,400).

Governments added 1,700 jobs in February, with most of that growth in local government employment (1,100).

The complete news release for February is available at LAUS Home : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Job openings and layoffs and discharges rise in Georgia during January

 Job openings in Georgia, seasonally adjusted

Both the number of job openings and the number of people losing their jobs rose in January, according to information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job openings and hires

Compared to December, the number of job openings in the state grew by 48,000 from December to January after seasonal adjustment. In contrast, job openings nationwide fell by 410,000 over the month.

The number of people hired was essentially unchanged between December and January. For the nation, the number of hires was little changed over the month.

The number of job openings and hires can be seen as measures of employer optimism about future economic activity as employers will increase job openings and hires only when they see brighter economic prospects in the near future.


Total separations, which include people who choose to leave their job as well as those who are separated from work either by layoff or fired, increased by 36,000 in January. For the nation, the number was little changed over the month.

Of those leaving their jobs in January, the number of people choosing to voluntarily leave was virtually the same as in December, which was also true nationwide. The number of people quitting their job can be seen as a measure of worker optimism about their economic prospects.

The number of people who were laid off or discharged over the month rose by 27,000, in contrast to the nation which showed little change in January. The January number represented the largest number of layoffs and discharges in the state since March 2022.

Ratio of unemployed persons to job openings

In Georgia, the number of unemployed persons per job opening remained 0.4 in January, the same as for most of calendar year 2022.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Atlanta area unemployment rate stays stable while nonfarm payrolls rise in January

The Atlanta area’s unemployment rate stood at 3.4% in January, showing virtually no change over the year, according to new information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January 2022, the Atlanta area posted an unemployment rate of 3.3%.

The metropolitan area’s nonfarm payroll employment rose by 15,700 in January, after seasonal adjustment, compared to a 1,000 drop in December.  

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Atlanta area nonfarm payroll number hit an all-time high of 3,040,700 jobs. Before seasonal adjustment, the payroll number was below the levels recorded in October, November, and December last year. This was to be expected as payrolls normally drop after the holiday season.

Unemployment (Not seasonally adjusted)

 Since January 2022, the area’s labor force has risen by 18,708 as the number of employed grew by 20,272 and the number of unemployed dropped by 1,564.

In terms of percentage change, the area’s labor force rose by 0.8%, employment increased by 0.7%, and unemployment dropped by 1.5% over the year. In comparison, the statewide labor market rose by 0.8%, employment grew by 0.9%, and unemployment fell by 1.3% since January 2022.

Nonfarm payroll employment (Not seasonally adjusted)

Before seasonal adjustment, the area’s payrolls fell by 30,100, although this was a smaller decline compared to January 2022 when payroll employment fell by 48,000 in a month where employment normally declines in the post-holiday season.

Over the year, nonfarm payrolls in the Atlanta area have risen by 117,500, an increase of 4.1% compared to the statewide increase of 168,200 or 3.6%.

For both the Atlanta area and statewide, most of the increase occurred in the private sector with private sector payrolls in the Atlanta area increasing by 109,800 (4.3%) compared to a 155,300 (3.9%) increase statewide.

In the Atlanta area, all major industries posted over the year increases in payrolls compared to January 2022. The largest numerical increases occurred in leisure and hospitality (28,300), health care and social assistance (18,700), professional and business services (12,300), and financial activities (10,900).

The smallest rise in payrolls occurred in state government, increasing by only 200 over the year.

The BLS news release for the Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary is available at Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary - 2023 M01 Results (

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

OSHA proposes $319,000 in fines for safety violations at Dollar General stores in Columbus, Ga. area

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that one of America’s largest discount retailers “continues to expose workers to unsafe conditions”.

The agency inspected stores in Ocala, Florida, and Columbus, Georgia, and catalogued many of the same violations Dollar General has refused to correct at its stores throughout the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

OSHA’s investigation in Columbus found Dollar General’s Victory Drive location exposed workers to fire and entrapment hazards by locking an emergency exit door. The location had boxes and merchandise stored in an unsafe manner, exposing workers to struck-by hazards. OSHA issued citations for two repeat violations with $221,001 in proposed penalties.

At the retailer’s 13th Avenue location in Columbus, Ga., OSHA found boxes of merchandise, shopping carts and other items blocking walkways, exposing employees to trip hazards. OSHA cited Dollar General with one repeat violation and $98,219 in proposed penalties.   

“Exposing employees and others to these hazards can be dangerous, especially in an emergency,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. “Dollar General is well aware of federal requirements, but they continue to ignore their legal responsibilities to protect their employees at stores throughout the nation.”

In Alabama, Florida and Georgia, OSHA has issued citations in 23 Dollar General store inspections from Feb. 1, 2022 through Jan 31, 2023, with a total of nearly $7.5 million in penalties. 

Based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC operate about 19,000 stores and 28 distribution centers in 47 states and employ more than 173,000 workers. In fiscal year 2022, the organization’s net sales were more than $9 billion.

Dollar General has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. You can learn more at

Agency: Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Date: March 13, 2023  Release Number: 23-402-NAT

Bison Workforce Solutions owner and employee plead no contest to $54 million workers’ compensation insurance fraud

Wesley Owens, 54, of Atlanta, Georgia, and Beau Wilson, 38, also of Atlanta, pleaded no contest to multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and conspiracy in Department 50 of the Los Angeles Superior Court before Judge Kerry White. The charges were filed after a California Department of Insurance investigation found the two defendants perpetrated a $54 million workers’ compensation insurance fraud scheme. 

They both will be sentenced to 10 years formal probation, 60 days of community labor and are ordered to pay $350,000 cash prior to their final sentencing in restitution. Wilson additionally agreed to sell five pieces of real property and remit the proceeds of the sale towards further restitution. Both also stipulated to an agreed additional $14.15 million owed in restitution during their 10 years of formal probation. If either defendant fails to fulfill the terms of their formal probation, or otherwise violates probation, they will be remanded to California State Prison for five years. 

Owens owned and was the CEO of Bison Workforce Solutions, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) based outside Atlanta, Georgia, that provided outsourced workers’ compensation insurance human resources, payroll, tax and other services to other businesses. After receiving a referral from the State Compensation Insurance Fund, the Department launched an investigation which uncovered a massive workers’ compensation insurance fraud scheme perpetrated by Owens, Wilson, and other Bison employees. The investigation found the company failed to pay approximately $29 million in premium as a result of its fraud and bilked its PEO customers out of approximately $25.5 million in fees they thought were paying for workers’ compensation insurance coverage. 

The investigation found Owens would obtain workers’ compensation insurance for his company, Bison, and then use the documents provided to it by the insurance company to generate fraudulent Certificates of Insurance, which they would issue to PEO customers. The insurance carrier was told the policy was to cover a small, white-collar firm, not the PEO customers’ businesses which included agricultural workers, roofers, limo drivers, and a wide variety of other employees. The investigation also found Wilson, who was aware of the fraud, recruited customers for Bison and received commissions for each client that used the fraudulent services. 

Bison became unable to obtain workers ‘compensation because of its persistent fraud so the company entered into a business relationship with another firm that already had a workers’ compensation insurance policy. Owens and his coconspirators began using that firm’s documents to continue generating fake insurance certificates. In order to conceal the fact that its policy was being misused to insure PEO customers, Bison began paying out claims itself. When the expense of this was too much for the company to sustain, it eventually stopped paying out claims and left workers uncovered by workers’ compensation insurance and with no recourse after being injured on the job. 

The Department executed a search warrant in Georgia in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Insurance and conducted numerous interviews. On March 2, 2023, Owens and Wilson pleaded no contest. Probation and sentencing are initially set for September 13, 2023. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. 

For Release: March 10, 2023

Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566; Email Inquiries:

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Atlanta inflation remains elevated even as the rate of increase slows in February

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, Atlanta-Sandy Springs, Roswell, Ga., recorded a 1.5% increase for the two-month period ending in February according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In February 2022, the Atlanta area had recorded a 2.3% rise in its inflation index.

The increase for the Atlanta area over the past two months was similar to the 1.4% rise for the nation.

Over the 12 months ending in February 2023, the inflation rate in the Atlanta area came in at 7.2% as compared to a 6.0% rise for the nation.

Components of the CPI-U for the Atlanta metro area

In February, costs for food at home declined 2.1% as compared to January, the second consecutive monthly decline for the index. For the 12 months ending in February, the index has increased 8.5%, the first time the 12-month change has been in the single digits since April 2022. Nationally, food at home costs rose 10.2%.

Costs for shelter rose 0.6% over the month, the same percentage increase recorded in December and January. Over the past year, shelter costs have increased 13.0% in the Atlanta area compared to an 8.1% rise in the nation. The shelter index includes both costs for rental accommodations as well as owner-occupied housing.

Gasoline prices rose 5.6% over the month of February, with the increase below the 7.2% recorded in January. The most recent two-month gasoline cost increase of 13.2% comes after the state reinstated its gasoline tax on January 11, 2023. Over the 12 months ending in February, gasoline costs in the Atlanta area have declined 2.2%, similar to the national index’s drop of 2.0%.

A full set of consumer price indexes for the Atlanta area are released bi-monthly for even numbered months, such as February. In odd-numbered months, such as January, BLS releases only a limited number of monthly indexes. More information on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., is available at