Friday, January 21, 2022

Georgia workers showing more optimism than employers about the future

 Number of Georgia workers quitting their jobs reached a new high in November, 2021

The number of Georgians quitting their jobs in November rose significantly, while the number of job openings fell, indicating that workers are feeling more confident about their financial futures than employers are feeling about future business conditions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released information for November 2021 indicating that the number of job openings in the state fell by 33,000 positions or 0.6 percentage points, while job openings nationwide fell 0.4 points.

Employers posting job openings can be interpreted as companies’ optimism about future economic conditions, as employers will add workers when they expect sustained business activity.

Georgia workers leaving their jobs in large numbers

Total separations, which includes retirements, firings, layoffs, and voluntary quits, rose by 57,000 in Georgia or 1.2 points. Nationally, separations rose 0.2 points.

More than 90 percent of those separations occurred as the result of voluntary quits by workers. In Georgia, 53,000 quits were recorded in November an increase of 1.2 percentage points from October. For the nation, the number of quits rose by 0.2 percent.

The rate of workers quitting in Georgia remained far higher than for the nation as a whole, with 4.5 percent of the workforce quitting in the state compared to 3.0 percent nationwide in November.

Interpreting the data

Economists interpret the choice of workers to voluntarily leave their jobs as an indicator of people’s confidence in their economic future.

Worker turnover can mean large headaches for employers, as it adds to training costs and higher wages to retain staff.

Increased economic confidence by workers can also be an indicator of increased consumer spending, as workers more confident about their future also tend to increased their expenditures.

For employers, lower number of job openings can mean that employers are responding to workers quitting by filling fewer vacancies or by using other means, such as more automation, to meet business needs in lieu of hiring more staff.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Atlanta Fed lowers GDP forecast for 4th Quarter 2021; says economy in Southeast expanded “moderately”


The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has lowered their forecast for the United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the last three months of 2021 to 5.0 percent.


"The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2021 is 5.0 percent on January 14, down from 6.8 percent on January 10. After the January 10 GDPNow update and subsequent releases from the US Census Bureau, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, a decrease in the nowcast of fourth-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth from 4.5 percent to 2.0 percent was slightly offset by an increase in the nowcast of fourth-quarter real gross private domestic investment growth from 17.8 percent to 18.1 percent. Also, the nowcast of the contribution of the change in real net exports to fourth-quarter real GDP growth decreased from 0.21 percentage points to 0.19 percentage points." 

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced that the nation’s GDP for the 3rd quarter of 2021 came in at 2.3 percent. 

Southeast economy expanding at a “moderate” pace 

The bank’s latest summary of economic activity found: 

"Economic activity in the Sixth District expanded moderately from mid-November through December, even amidst widespread outbreaks of the Omicron variant late in the reporting period. Demand for workers remained strong and labor market tightness persisted. Upward pressure on wages was widespread. Nonlabor costs grew, albeit at a slower pace. Retail sales were solid; auto sales, however, remained challenged due to supply chain constraints. Domestic leisure travel was strong. Business travel and convention bookings picked up somewhat, though increases in Omicron cases precipitated some postponements and cancellations in the near term. Robust housing demand continued. Conditions in commercial real estate improved. Manufacturing activity was healthy. Conditions at financial institutions were steady, though deposit levels declined, and loan demand slowed somewhat." 

·         Consumer spending was healthy, particularly for off-price retailers. Cruise ship business was strong, though passenger counts were lower than before the pandemic as cruise lines have continued to limit capacity.

·         Demand from investors and second-home buyers continued to make up a significant component of housing market demand.

·         Manufacturing contacts reported increased revenues and believe business will continue to improve this year, even as some expressed concerns about supply chain interruptions, labor shortages, and rising input costs.

·         Transportation stayed strong. Container volume grew at district seaports, and air cargo contacts noted increased demand because of surging ecommerce shipments.

·         Chemical manufacturing and petroleum refining improved. However, contacts continued to report that supply chain bottlenecks constrained some chemical production. 

The report for all the Federal Reserve banks on economic conditions for their districts can be found at

The next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled for January 25-26, 2022.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Inflation in the Atlanta area continues to outpace the nation, rising 9.8% in 2021

 Calendar year increase largest since beginning of local series in 1998

Consumer prices in the Atlanta area rose 1.9 percent for the two months ending in December 2021, according to new information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The two-month increase rose at twice the pace of the nation, which posted a 0.8 percent increase.

For the 12 months ending in December 2021, consumer prices in the Atlanta area increased 9.8 percent, the largest calendar year increase since BLS began posting calendar year data for the Atlanta area in 1998. Nationally, consumer prices rose 7.0 percent over the year.

Index components

Food prices in the Atlanta area increased 0.9 percent over the past two months, moving up 2.6 percent over the year.

Consumer prices for energy rose 2.2 percent over the two-month period, increasing 28.6 percent since last December.

All items excluding food and energy increased 2.0 percent over the two months and rose 9.3 percent over the 12 months ending in December, the largest increase for that index since 1998.

Housing costs rose 1.8 percent over two months, as rental costs increased 1.6 percent and owners’ equivalent of residential rent moved up 1.7 percent. For 2021, housing costs in the Atlanta are rose 7.4 percent as rental costs increased 8.1 percent and owners’ equivalent of residential rent moved up 7.5 percent.

Consumer costs for gasoline increased 1.5 percent over two months. For 2021, costs for gasoline in the Atlanta area increased 55.7 percent.

Impact on consumers

For Atlanta area consumers, increases in prices without a corresponding increase in the value of the items being bought causes a drain on consumer finances. Various items in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the Atlanta metropolitan area (CPI-U, Atlanta) have different impacts depending on what percentage of their budget is devoted to each item.

For example, food represents approximately 15 percent of the average Atlanta area consumers’ purchases with 8.7 percent going to food at home and 6.3 percent to food away from home.

Housing costs including rent or mortgage, as well as utilities, represent 35.7 percent of the average household’s budget.

Transportation costs amount to 13.9 percent of the budget for the average household.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Unemployment rates for all 159 Georgia Counties - November 2021

 Unemployment rates fell in all 159 counties in Georgia between November 2020 and November 2021, according to data supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Georgia's state unemployment rate decreased by 3.1 percentage points over the year, to 2.2 percent in November 2021 from 5.3 percent in November 2020 before seasonal adjustment.

For the counties, Clayton County showed the largest decline, dropping by 6.1 percentage points to 3.5 percent in November 2021 down from 9.6 percent in November 2020. County unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

As of November 2021, Clay County posted the state's highest unemployment rate of 6.4 percent followed by Telfair County at 4.2 percent.

Jackson and Oconee counties tied for the lowest unemployment rates in the state with each posting a 1.4 percent unemployment rate.

County unemployment rates for the last month of the year (December) will be released by BLS on February 2, 2022.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Georgia job openings rise, fewer people quitting their jobs in October; personal income rose only modestly


Job openings rose even as the number of people quitting their jobs fell in October as personal income in Georgia rose only slightly in the third quarter of 2021.

Job openings and turnover

The number of job openings in Georgia rose by 15,000 to 432,000 in October 2021. The number of job openings continued to reach new records as they totaled above 400,000 over each of the past three months.

In comparison, Georgia reported the number of unemployed in October at 158,436, resulting in more than 2.7 job openings for each unemployed person in the state.

At the same time, the number of people hired in October dropped by 7,000 to 261,000.

The number of people separating from their jobs declined by 40,000, as 31,000 fewer people chose to quit their positions. The number of people choosing to quit their jobs in October dropped to 154,000, 16 percent below the number recorded in September.

Layoffs and discharges declined by 3,000 over the month to 57,000 in October.

Over the past year, the number of people hired for jobs has increased by 46,000 since last October, while the number of total separations (both voluntary and involuntary) has risen by 49,000.

Personal income 3rd Quarter 2021

Personal income in the third quarter of 2021 rose by 0.8 percent (percent changes are expressed at annual rates). Wages and proprietors’ income rose 8.5 percent, while income from dividends, interest, and rent increased 4.5 percent.

The slow growth in personal income for Georgia was primarily due to a decline in transfer receipts, down 23.4 percent over the quarter, partially reflecting a decline in state unemployment compensation.

Personal current transfer receipts are benefits received by persons from federal, state, and local governments and from businesses for which no current services are performed. They include retirement and disability insurance benefits (mainly social security), medical benefits (mainly Medicare and Medicaid), income maintenance benefits, unemployment insurance compensation, veterans’ benefits, and federal education and training assistance.

For the U.S., personal income rose 2.6 percent as wages and proprietors’ income rose 9.3 percent and transfer receipts dropped 15.6 percent. Income from dividends, interest, and rent increased 3.3 percent.

Georgia unemployment rate drops to a new low, employment up in November

Georgia Nonfarm Employment Levels 

Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.8 percent in November, the lowest rate recorded by the state since records began in 1976, and the first time the state’s unemployment rate has fallen below 3.0 percent. 

The rate declined came as the number of employed Georgians rose by 11,983, while the number of unemployed dropped by 12,218. The state’s labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 61.5 percent, while the state’s employment-population ratio stood at 59.7 percent. 

Georgia’s unemployment rate remained well below the national unemployment rate of 4.2 percent in November. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nebraska had the lowest jobless rate in November, 1.8 percent, followed by Utah, 2.1 percent. The rates in Georgia (2.8 percent), Nebraska (1.8 percent), Oklahoma (2.5 percent), Utah (2.1 percent), and West Virginia (4.0 percent) set new series lows. (All state series begin in 1976.) 

Job Growth 

In November, the number of nonfarm jobs in Georgia grew by 13,500 after growing by more than 20,000 in each of the two previous months. With the additional jobs added in November, the state remains only 48,000 jobs short of the number it recorded prior to the pandemic beginning in early 2020. 

All of the growth in November occurred in the private sector, which added 14,000 jobs over the month while government jobs declined by 500. The state’s private sector remains only 27,000 jobs short of its numbers prior to the beginning of the pandemic. 

For the first 11 months of 2021, the state has recorded a job growth rate of 3.8 percent, with the private sector showing a 4.4 percent growth rate. Job growth has not risen at this rate since the mid-1990s. 

Jobs by sector 

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities added the greatest number of jobs in November, up by 4,300 for a 1.6 percent increase over the month. 

Other notable job sectors in the month included manufacturing, which added 3,400 jobs, and the leisure and hospitality industry, which added 3,200 jobs in November. 

Retail trade dragged down the overall numbers with a loss of 5,100 jobs in November. 

Over the past 12 months, Georgia has seen the addition of 192,700 jobs for a growth rate of 4.4 percent. Of those, 190,800 jobs were in the private sector, while governments added 1,900 jobs. 

Sectors adding the most jobs in the past 12 months included professional and business services, up by 58,200 (8.3 percent) and leisure and hospitality, up by 33,000 (7.9 percent). 

State government was the only sector losing jobs since last November, down by 900 jobs, or -0.6 percent.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Georgia unemployment claims bounce up

The advance number of initial unemployment claims for Georgia jumped nearly 50 percent, before seasonal adjustment, for the week ending December 4, 2021.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that advance claims for the week totaled 3,799 compared to 2,535 initial claims in the prior week, which ended November 27. Despite the move up last week, for 2021 initial claims remained well below the number of initial claims reported in the weeks prior to November 27.

The number of insured unemployed in the state rose by 69 percent (59,240) to 85,212 for the week ending November 27. The state’s insured unemployment rate for the week ending November 20 was 0.6 percent.

For the nation, the advance number of initial unemployment claims rose by 29 percent to 280,665 for the week ending December 4, and the number of insured unemployed increased by 25 percent to 1,958,827 for the week ending November 27. The nation’s insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week ending November 20.

Comparisons with a year ago

At the state level, unemployment claims data are not seasonally adjusted, so it is useful to compare the rate of change this year with changes that occurred in 2020. 

For the comparable week ending December 5, 2020, initial unemployment claims in Georgia rose by 72 percent to 33,003, while the number of insured unemployed in the state for the week ending November 28, 2020, rose nearly 16 percent to 234,262. Last year at this time, the state’s insured unemployment rate stood at 5.30 percent. 

For definitions of the terms used as well as information on other states and the nation, see the latest U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration’s weekly report at