Monday, June 24, 2019

Georgia keeps adding jobs, but lower paying ones

Georgia added 5,900 jobs over the first four months of 2019, and an additional 2,600 in May, according to preliminary seasonally adjusted employment statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you graph out the results, as shown below, the job numbers look positive, if a bit sluggish compared to previous years. All in all, a bit of a slowdown and perhaps a "leveling-off" but not a decline.

Georgia Nonfarm Jobs, January 2018 to May 2019, seasonally adjusted

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Look closer under those numbers, and the statistics are both more revealing and less positive for the state’s economy.

Higher Paying Industries Losing Workers

In 2018, the industries with the highest average salaries in the state were Information ($96,810), Financial Activities ($84,636), and Wholesale Trade ($76,681).

These are also the three industries posting the largest numerical declines for the first third of the year.
Information jobs have declined by 3,600, Financial Activities by 1,700, and Wholesale Trade jobs by 3,200.
Georgia Information Sector Employment

Georgia Financial Activities Sector Employment

Georgia Wholesale Trade Sector Employment

Preliminary data for May does not change the picture significantly. 

The Information sector added 100 jobs in May, Financial Activities added 900 jobs, and Wholesale Trade added 100 jobs. Despite preliminary indications of job increases, all three industries remain below their levels at the end of December when seasonal factors are excluded from the data.

Job Growth in Lower Paying Industries

In contrast, the Leisure and Hospitality industry has added the most jobs in the first four months, gaining 3,100 positions followed by Retail Trade with 2,500 net new jobs. 

The two industries are among those with the lowest average pay in the state. In 2018, Leisure and Hospitality jobs in Georgia averaged $20,602 while Retail Trade jobs averaged $31,093.

In May, Retail Trade added another 600 jobs, while the Leisure and Hospitality industry lost 300, according to preliminary data.

Georgia Retail Trade Employment
Georgia Leisure and Hospitality Employment

One bright spot is the growth in Education and Health Services in the state. For the first four months, the sector grew by 7,900 jobs with an additional 1,100 jobs added in May.

The Education and Health Care sector sits in the middle of the pay range by industry with salaries in the sector averaging $52,251, just below the state average of $53,543 for all nonfarm jobs.

Lower Pay Results In Lower Spending and Tax Revenues

Lower incomes results in lower consumption, which ultimately feeds back into lower government revenues through sales taxes.

If the state does not experience a rebound, not only in the number of jobs created but also in the salaries associated with the new jobs, then Georgia will have greater difficulties raising revenue in the future year.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

How has Georgia changed in 10 years after the last recession

Georgia has made a remarkable recovery since the last recession, 
but the state is still vulnerable to any downturn in the national economy.

A decade ago, Georgia was mired in the national recession. 

In 2008, the state’s gross domestic product (the broadest measure of economic activity) declined by more than 6%, and employment in the state fell by 3.4%, a sharper decline than the nation.

Since 2008, the State of Georgia has seen a remarkable recovery from the most recent recessionary period.

Over the past decade, the state’s real (inflation-adjusted) GDP has grown by more than 23% to $588.17 billion.

State of Georgia GDP 

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Georgia Real GDP 2007-2018
Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Employment has risen by more than 13% even as the population increased by 8.5% up to 10.5 million, due to a combination of births and in-migration to the state.

Median household income has risen as well, growing from an average of $46,227 to $56,183, an increase of 21.5%. Unfortunately, when inflation is taken into account, median income reduces to a net gain of only 1.7% for the average household over the past decade.

Georgia Industries

Over the past 10 years, the largest industries in Georgia have become more concentrated and core to the state’s economy.

In 2007, the year before the recession took hold, Georgia’s four largest private sectors represented a total of 42.3% of the state’s economic activity.

In 2018, these four sectors combined for 43.4% of the state's economy.

·         Manufacturing in the state has slipped from 11.3% to 11.0%
·         Information sector has declined from 8.6% to 8.2%
·         Real estate and rental and leasing has increased from 11.2% to 11.9%
·         Professional and business services have climbed from 11.2% to 12.3%

One area of note is the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector. The industry recorded a significant increase in economic activity over the decade, rising by more than 59% and now represents more than $3.57 billion in economic activity.

No doubt, the decision to encourage movie and television production in the state through tax incentives has contributed to this rise, as well as individuals’ interest in more leisure activities.

In contrast, the state’s agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector continues to shrink as a share of the state’s overall economic activity.

While the sector did rise by 4.8% over the decade, it actually became less important to the state’s economy, dropping from 0.9% of the state’s GDP in 2008 to 0.7% in 2018. In total, the state's agricultural interests represents $3.96 billion of economic activity in 2018.

2018 has seen a slowdown

Although growth has continued over the past decade, 2018 marked a slowdown in the rate of growth, in terms of GDP, although employment growth accelerated.

In 2018, the state’s inflation-adjusted GDP grew by 2.6%, a decrease from the 2017 rates of 2.9%.

For the fourth quarter of 2018, state’s inflation-adjusted GDP growth was 2.1%, slightly below the nation’s 2.2% growth rate.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Employment in the state grew by 1.9% in 2018, more than the 1.6% growth rate recorded for 2017.  
As a comparison, the nation’s employment grew by 1.8% in 2018.

Looking ahead

Georgia has had a significant recovery since the recession but remains dependent on many of the same industries that powered it before the last recession.

Since the value of its largest sectors has increased since the last recession, the state is even more dependent on these same industries’ health for its future growth.

Traditionally, Georgia does better than the nation in employment growth during good economic times, and worse than the nation during a downturn.
Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Despite employment growth, median household income remains below the nation giving residents less ability to build up savings in anticipation of any recessionary period.

At the same time, government, normally a reliable provider of employment and income during recessions, has shrunk in the state making it less of a counter-balance if the private sector begins to decline.

There is every reason to believe that if the nation goes into another recession, the state’s economy and its labor force will disproportionately again suffer.