Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Equifax CEO speaks prior to announcement of data breach

On September 7, 2017, Atlanta-based Equifax announced that personal information for as many as 143 million consumers had been accessed by hackers between May and July.

Back on August 17, after the breach was known to the company, but before the information was released publicly, Equifax CEO Rick Smith spoke to a group at the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.

Early in his talk he boasts about he "transformed" the company from one that "didn't have any innovation" with "average talent", which he changed into a "global data and analytics company" by "innovating at a faster rate."

He gave this talk knowing about the data breach.

Below you can watch his entire talk.

Since the breach has been made public, Equifax's stock price has fallen about 35%.

Equifax is a major company in the Atlanta metro area, important not for its size, but because it supports many groups and institutions in Georgia since its headquarters is in Atlanta.

If the company is bought out, Atlanta will lose a major headquarters company, and many groups in Georgia will have less access to the corporate support for their activities now provided by Equifax.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Georgia’s employment picture rebounds in August

Georgia's jobs picture remains positive

Georgia added 19.800 jobs in August, reversing its decline in July according to newly released seasonally adjusted information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Just as important as the August gain, BLS revised the state’s job loss in July. Originally reported as a loss of 14,100 jobs over the month, the revision brings the job loss to only 3,500 jobs.

For the 12 months ending in August, Georgia has added 116,500 jobs. The state’s 12-month job creation rate has continually exceeded 100,000 jobs since early 2014.

With the August figures, the state now is home to more than 4.5 million nonfarm jobs, a new state record.

Georgia’s unemployment rate in August remained at 4.7%, the same as in July.

Revisions to July data were anticipated

Revisions to July’s employment numbers were anticipated, as the preliminary figures saw the state losing jobs even as the national employment numbers were improving.

This month, the revisions mean that Georgia showed remarkable growth while employment slowed nationwide.

Nationally, the U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs in August down from a revised 189,000 jobs increase in July. BLS revised downward its employment counts for June and July even as it revised Georgia’s jobs report upward.

Growth by sector

For August, employment in the private sector grew by 15,500, while government increased 4,300 jobs.

The most significant change was in professional and business services, which added 10,200 jobs in August. Manufacturing added 4,100 jobs after showing declines over the previous three months. Retail trade added 1,500 jobs, financial activities employment increased by 1,000.

All the growth in the government sector can be attributed to local governments, whose employment rose by 4,600, offsetting a small decline in state government employment.

Data for selected states

Like Georgia, Florida reported good job creation in August, up by 20,100 jobs after seasonal adjustment. South Carolina’s employment rose by 6,200 while Alabama’s job totals declined by 2,900. Mississippi showed no change over the month.

Pre-hurricane employment data

August represents the last employment data prior to the landfall of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. BLS reports that Hurricane Harvey had no discernible effect on the employment and unemployment data for August.

Data for September and onward will be impacted by the two storms, which both disrupted normal operations in several states including Texas and Florida, and also disrupted data collection making it more difficult to obtain accurate reporting of employment information.

Even in Georgia, Tropical Storm Irma caused disruption including the partial evacuation of Savannah and a halt to port activities in that area.

The disruptions will cause data for the next few months to be suspect and prone to possible large revisions making the true employment trend more difficult to discern.