Thursday, January 28, 2021

Job losses in 2020 concentrated in larger metro areas in Georgia


Map source: By DoubleZ OTP - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

In 2020, Georgia recorded a net job loss of 77,700 jobs, before seasonal adjustment, which represented a 1.7 percent decline over the year. The net loss of jobs was the first recorded for the state since 2009.

Job losses were not evenly distributed across the state. The effect of the coronavirus on job growth and losses in 2020 becomes obvious when comparing statewide job losses to those in the metro areas of the state.

The Atlanta metro area, which constitutes the state’s largest labor market, accounted for more than 90 percent of the state’s net losses in 2020 resulting in a decline of 2.5 percent (-72,500 jobs). For more than a decade, the story in Georgia has been the persistent job gains occurring in large metro areas compared to more rural parts of the state. Before 2020, the last year where the Atlanta metro area put in a worse annual jobs performance than the state was in 2009.

The state’s second largest metro area, Augusta, experienced an even larger decline as its jobs market saw a 4.1 percent drop over the year resulting in 9,900 fewer jobs than in December 2019.

The Macon and Savannah areas suffered losses but the percentage declines in their labor markets were smaller than the state as a whole. The Savannah area saw a net job loss of 1,200, which translated to 0.6 percent drop. The Macon area recorded a loss of 1,600 jobs, which represented a 1.5 percent drop in its job market.

Three of the state’s smaller metro areas posted net job gains over the year. They included Valdosta (1,900), Rome (400), and Hinesville (200).

An exception to the larger employment drops being concentrated in the larger job markets was Brunswick. The southeastern Georgia coastal area recorded the worse performing job market among metro areas in the state in 2020. The Brunswick metro area saw jobs drop by 5,200 or 11.6 percent.

The Brunswick area saw large percentage employment declines in its goods-producing sector (-7.3%), private service-providing sector (-14.6 percent), state government (-5.6 percent), as well as local government (-5.8 percent).

Information for this report was provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Georgia shows strong jobs recovery in 4th quarter of 2020


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

In the final three months of 2020, Georgia posted significant job gains that reversed part of the losses incurred in the second quarter of the year, according to information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nonfarm employment in the state grew by 130,200 in the final quarter of the year (before seasonal adjustement) with net job increases of 57,800 in October, 38,300 in November, and 34,100 in December. Employment in the private sector accounted for all of the net job growth over the quarter.

For the calendar year, Georgia’s job market suffered a net loss of 77,700 jobs or 1.66 percent. Over the past 12 months, private nonfarm jobs in Georgia declined by 55,200 while government jobs (federal, state and local governments combined) lost 22,500 jobs.

The percentage of job losses in the state was much lower than job losses nationwide. Nationally, the United States recorded net job losses in 2020 of 9.15 million jobs, or nearly 6 percent.

Georgia economic sectors 4th quarter

Employment grew noticeably in both the warehouse and storage and employment services industries. In the third quarter of 2020, employment in the warehouse and storage industry rose by 7,200, or 12 percent. Jobs in employment services, which includes temporary help jobs, grew by 17,700 or nearly 11 percent. Food services and drinking places recorded a significant bounce back in the fourth quarter, rising by 15,600 jobs as businesses either reopened or developed some pick-up and delivery trade to offset some of the loss of on-site dining.

Losses in jobs over the quarter included construction, down by 900 jobs, accommodation (hotels) down by 1,000 jobs and federal government, which declined by 3,800 jobs as seasonal Census workers completed their tasks.  

State government jobs dropped by 1,500 over the quarter even as local government employment rose by 4,700.

Georgia over-the-year employment by sector

For 2020, retail trade posted the largest net gain in employment, adding 30,500 jobs. The sector includes grocery stores, large multi-product stores such as Walmart and Target, as well as hardware chains such as Home Depot and Lowes. For the year, the sector showed a nearly 6 percent gain.

As a percentage of employment, the warehouse and storage industry recorded the largest gain at 13.7 percent, or 8,100 jobs.

The leisure and hospitality industry, which was hard hit by closures and curtailment of business related to the Covid-19 outbreak, failed to fully recover from losses in the second quarter of 2020. For the calendar year, food services and drinking places showed the largest net loss with the industry employment dropping by 28,700 or 7.2 percent in 2020. The accommodation industry reported a larger percentage loss at 24.7 percent, although because of its smaller employment base, recorded a net loss of only 12,400 jobs.

Atlanta metro area

As the largest metro area in the state, the Atlanta metro area played a significant part in the state’s job recovery in the fourth quarter, although the metro area recovered slower than the state as a whole.

For the fourth quarter of 2020, the Atlanta metro area added 72,200 jobs or about 55 percent of the jobs added by the state as a whole.

Over the calendar year, the metro area lost 72,500 of the state’s 77,700 net job loss, as private sector jobs failed to rebound as quickly in the Atlanta metro area as they have statewide.

Private nonfarm jobs in the Atlanta metro area dropped by 63,800 over the calendar year, while government jobs (federal, state and local governments combined) lost 8,700 jobs.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank finds “modest” expansion of economic activity in the South through the end of December 2020


The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is reporting that economic activity continued to expand at a modest pace from mid-November through December in its district, which includes the states of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The bank, headquartered in Atlanta, reported that over the period of mid-November through December:

  • Labor markets continued to gradually improve
  • Wage pressures were muted
  • Nonlabor costs related to construction and supply chains were rising
  • Sales at auto dealers declined
  • Tourism and hospitality activity softened
  • Residential real estate demand remained strong
  • Residential mortgages showed an uptick in delinquencies
  • Commercial real estate markets remained soft
  • Manufacturing activity rose modestly
  • Banking conditions were stable 

Labor conditions 

Consistent with the findings of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Atlanta Fed found that overall employment levels had risen over the past months, although they stayed below the levels reached a year ago. 

Labor shortages were faced by trucking companies, while manufacturers and technology companies were reporting increased hiring. At the same time, some restaurants reported that they were layoff staff. Professional and business services firms were reluctant to hire even with increased business because they were uncertain about future business, as the coronavirus impacts the overall economy. 


The Atlanta Fed found moderate price inflation since its last report. Both manufacturing and service sector firms saw price inflation for their goods and services. Service sector firms reported high prices for their inputs but slowed slightly for manufacturers. 

Inflation of prices paid outpaced that of prices received, according to firms. Prices rose for raw materials and longer lead times were required, particularly for materials used in construction. Some firms reported higher costs for personal protective equipment, also related to the coronavirus epidemic. 

These comments and others are provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as its contribution to the Federal Reserve’s Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District, commonly known as the “Beige Book”. 

The report is published eight times a year in advance of Federal Open Market Committee meetings. The FOMC makes decisions about interest rates and the growth of the U.S. money supply. The first meeting of 2021 will occur January 26-27, 2021.

 A complete report of the Beige Book for all Federal Reserve districts is available at

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Consumer Price Index for Atlanta – December 2020


The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area rose 1.6 percent for the 12 months ending in December, according to information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This compares to a 1.4 percent increase in consumer prices nationwide.

The 12-month increase of consumer prices in the Atlanta area in 2020 was less than half of the 3.3 percent rise recorded for the area in 2019.

Food costs in the Atlanta area rose 3.7 percent over the year, while costs for energy declined 5.9 percent. The index for all items less food and energy increased 2.0 percent in 2020 compared to a 2.8 percent increase recorded in 2019.

Atlanta area price indexes

Costs for food and beverages increased 3.0 percent over the 12 months ending in December 2020. Costs for food at home increased 4.6 percent, while costs for food away from home rose 2.8 percent. This was a reversal from the changes recorded in 2019 when food at home costs rose 3.1 percent, while food away from home increased 4.0 percent.

Housing costs rose 2.6 percent as costs for shelter increased 2.2 percent, while costs for fuels and utilities rose 3.7 percent. Within the fuels and utilities category, electricity costs increased 4.0 percent, less than half of the 10.8 percent increase recorded for 2019. Costs for household furnishings and operations increased 4.7 percent in 2020.

Transportation costs declined 1.6 percent over the year, primarily due to a 16.2 percent drop in the cost of gasoline. Prices for new vehicles rose 7.9 percent, while prices for used cars and trucks increased 9.2 percent.

Medical care costs dropped 1.0 percent in 2020, a sharp reversal from the 11.6 percent increase recorded in 2019. The index for all items less medical care rose by 1.9 percent over the year.

Costs for apparel rose by 3.0 percent, recreation costs increased 2.7 percent, and costs for education and communication increased 2.1 percent in 2020.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in prices paid for consumers of goods and services. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., is based on the expenditures of residents of the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area and includes professionals, the self-employed, the poor, the unemployed, and retired people, as well as urban wage earners and clerical workers.

The CPI is a statistical estimate that is subject to sampling error because it is based upon a sample of retail prices and not a complete universe of all prices. BLS calculates and publishes estimates for the CPI-U-Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., as a 2-month, 6-month, and 12-month percent change. CPI indexes for the Atlanta area are not seasonally adjusted.

Information on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted collection of the CPI is available at Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response on the Consumer Price Index : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (  Additional information on the Consumer Price Index program is available at CPI Home : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Happy New Year from Here is the most recent information available at the end of 2020

 I want to wish all my readers a very happy new year. Thank you for your interest in this blog, and for your support of this blog, which attempts to provide an economic snapshot of the State of Georgia and its labor markets.

12-months net change in Georgia nonfarm employment, 2019-2020

2020 was a most interesting year in Georgia’s economy, and many of the effects of this past year won’t be fully realized for some time. To leave you with some sense of how Georgians coped with turmoil of 2020, here is a summary of some of the most recent information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) for Georgia.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Georgia in current dollars

  • 3rd Quarter 2019 = $629,465.7 million / 3rd Quarter 2020 = $627,666.8 million (-$1,798.9 million)

 Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumers – Atlanta, GA MSA

  • All Items 12 months increase: October 2019 = 3.0% / October 2020 = 1.2%
  • All Items less food and energy 12 months increase: October 2019 = 3.5% / October 2020 = 1.7%

 Local Area Unemployment Statistics for Georgia

  • Number unemployed: November 2019 = 141,518 / November 2020 = 276,684  (increase: 135,166)
  • Unemployment rate: November 2019 = 2.8% / November 2020 = 5.4%
  • Employment-population ratio: November 2019 = 60.6% / November 2020 = 58.6%

 Georgia Unemployment Claims

  • Initial claims as of December 19 = 26,673 / Year-ago = 4,885 (increase: 21,788)
  • Insured Unemployment as of December 12 = 164,960 / Year-ago = 25,133  (increase: 139,827)

 Nonfarm Employment for Georgia and Metro Areas in the State

  • Statewide Georgia: November 2019 = 4,674,700 / November 2020 = 4,561,700  (-113,000 / -2.4%)
  • Albany, GA: November 2019 = 63,600 / November 2020 = 60,400  (-3,200 / -5.0%)
  • Athens, GA: November 2019 = 98,300 / November 2020 = 95,100  (-3,200 / -3.3%)
  • Atlanta, GA: November 2019 = 2,894,200 / November 2020 = 2,808,700  (-85,500 / -3.0%)
  • Augusta, GA: November 2019 = 244,200 / November 2020 = 232,000  (-12,200 / 5.0%)
  • Brunswick, GA: November 2019 = 44,900 / November 2020 = 39,200  (-5,700 / -12.7%)
  • Columbus, GA: November 2019 = 123,200 / November 2020 = 116,500  (-6,700 / -5.4%)
  • Dalton, GA: November 2019 = 66,100 / November 2020 = 63,800  (-2,300 /- 3.5%)
  • Gainesville, GA: November 2019 = 94,900 / November 2020 = 92,400  (-2,500 / -2.6%)
  • Hinesville, GA: November 2019 = 21,700 / November 2020 = 22,000  (300 / 1.4%)
  • Macon, GA: November 2019 = 103,900 / November 2020 = 101,400  (-2,500 / -2.4%)
  • Rome, GA: November 2019 = 42,700 / November 2020 = 42,600  (-100 / -0.2%)
  • Savannah, GA: November 2019 = 187,800 / November 2020 = 182,900  (-4,900 / -2.6%)
  • Valdosta, GA: November 2019 = 57,100 / November 2020 = 58,800  (1,700 / 3.0%)
  • Warner Robins, GA: November 2019 = 78,000 / November 2020 = 74,500  (-3,500 / -4.5%)