Sunday, May 23, 2021

All of Atlanta’s largest counties post job declines for 2020

The six largest counties in the Atlanta metropolitan region recorded net job losses for the year 2020, according to information just release by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The six counties include Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, and Gwinnett. Each of the six counties had average annual employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2019.

Clayton County suffered the largest percentage loss of its jobs base in 2020 with a net loss of almost 10 percent of its jobs. This compares to losses of 6 percent for Fulton County, the state’s largest county by employment. In contrast, Forsyth County recorded a net loss of 3 percent of its jobs in 2020.

Statewide, Georgia saw a net loss of 181,542 jobs in 2020, which translates as a 4 percent decline in jobs as losses in the first half of 2020 were only partially recovered in the second half of the year.

 

Job losses/gain for largest counties in the Atlanta metro area, 2020

Clayton County – 1st half 2020 = -28,507. 2nd half 2020 = 16,143. Calendar year = -12,364

Cobb County – 1st half 2020 = -39,638. 2nd half 2020 = 24.643. Calendar year = -14,995

DeKalb County – 1st half 2020 = -26,814. 2nd half 2020 = 11,609. Calendar year = -15,205

Forsyth County – 1st half 2020 = -4,425. 2nd half 2020 = 2,101. Calendar year = -2,324

Fulton County – 1st half 2020 = -109,812. 2nd half 2020 = 50.960. Calendar year = -58,852

Gwinnett County – 1st half 2020 = -32,561. 2nd half 2020 = 16,490. Calendar year = -16,071

 

Average Weekly Wage

In the fourth quarter of 2020, Fulton County experienced the highest average weekly wage at $1,707, while Forsyth County had the lowest at $1,135. All counties reported increases in average weekly wage as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Increases in average weekly wages reflect employment declines combined with wage increases. 

Total Wages Paid

In terms of total payrolls, Clayton County saw the total payrolls of its employers decline by 4 percent as companies laid off workers in the first half of 2020. Clayton County was the only county among the six large counties in the Atlanta metro area that recorded a gross payroll decline over the year.

Additional information for Georgia’s county-level employment in 2020 will be available from BLS at a later date.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Where the jobs are: Manufacturing

Job openings in Manufacturing, January 2016-March 2021

Job openings in manufacturing, as well as the leisure and hospitality and education and health services industries, are becoming the surprising bright spots for jobseekers.

While employment revivals in the leisure and hospitality and education and health services industries is not a surprise given the upheaval in those industries related to COVID-19 disruptions, the gain in manufacturing employment needs highlighting for jobseekers who may not have considered this sector.

Over the first three months of 2021, manufacturing companies posted 264,000 openings and hired 112,000 workers, according to statistics supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Manufacturing is of particular interest because the sector has been showing steady declines in employment and workers had been conditioned to avoid looking for jobs in this sector meaning that jobseekers who include consideration of manufacturing jobs in their employment hunt may find greater opportunities than they would normally expect.

Within manufacturing, companies involved in producing durable goods, such as vehicles, showed 114,000 job openings in the first quarter of the year, while nondurable producers, such as food processing plants, posted 150,000 job openings.

As for actual hiring, durable manufacturers hired 112,000 workers in the first quarter of 2021, compared to 94,000 workers hired in the first quarter of 2019, before the coronavirus. Of those hired, 74,000 were in durable manufacturing and 38,000 were in nondurable manufacturing plants.

While job openings and hiring represent opinion of employers, BLS also has a measure of the confidence of workers by measuring their willingness to change jobs. Where measuring the number of workers who voluntarily quit their jobs, economists can tell where workers have relative confidence to improve their situation by changing positions. In manufacturing, the quit rate for manufacturing workers has increased over the past 12 months to 2.2 from 1.2 in March 2020 as workers find improved opportunities in the sector.

Manufacturing in Georgia

In Georgia, the number of manufacturing jobs in the state has risen by 31,800 since April 2020 through March 2021.

In the state, Gwinnett and Fulton counties are home to largest number of manufacturing jobs, with each county containing more than 25,000 jobs. These counties are followed by Whitfield and Hall counties at more than 19,000 each, and Cobb County with 17,000 manufacturing jobs.

Statewide, manufacturing employment is pretty evenly split between durable and nondurable manufacturers.

After decades of marking declines in manufacturing, the sector seems poised for a turnaround with the number of job openings and hires increasing. Many of these jobs will require skill in operating sophisticated complex equipment that will required employees trained through post-secondary programs.

For jobseekers, opportunities in manufacturing may offer a career alternative that seemed all but shut down over the past couple of decades.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Atlanta inflation rate increases but not yet above trendline

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., increased 1.6 percent from February to April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The index for food declined 0.2 percent, while the energy index increased 6.6 percent. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.6 percent from February to April.

For the 12 months ending in April, the CPI-U for All Items increased 6.0 percent. The index for food declined 0.2 percent over the past 12 months, while the energy index rose 30.0 percent. The index for all items less food and energy increased 5.0 percent.

Considering inflation rates over a 24-month period

While the most recent 12-month increases appear to be large, they come a year after the economy suffered a sharp setback as consumers changed their buying habits and companies saw drop-offs in their business. These resulted in some significant slowdowns in the rate of increase for some inflation measures, while other indexes actually declined over the year. For example, the CPI-U for All Urban Consumers in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., declined 0.3 percent from April 2019 to April 2020.

Because of the sharp slowdown in the economy in 2020, there is good reason to consider inflation not over the past 12 months, but over the past 24 months. In that context, the current inflation rate is in line with inflation in some prior years.

From April 2019 to April 2021, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., increased 5.6 percent compared to inflation rates of 5.4 percent from 2017 to 2019 and 5.2 percent from 2015 to 2017.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 6.2 percent from 2019 to 2021 compared to inflation rates of 5.1 percent from 2017 to 2019 and 6.9 percent from 2015 to 2017.

Conclusion

While the percentage change over the most recent 12 months may seem to imply higher rates of inflation in the future, once the impact of lower price inflation in 2020 is taken into account, the inflation rates over the most recent 24 months seem in line with past experiences as the economy recovered from the 2007-2009 recession.

Economists will have to wait until later in 2020 to see if retail prices continue to increase at the current rate, accelerate, or actually moderate as the economy recovers from the 2020 downturn.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Atlanta job market: Quick to lose jobs but some counties are slow to recover

 

After losing more than 5 percent of its jobs in 2020, the Atlanta metro job market is showing signs of only a slow recovery. Through March 2021, nonfarm jobs in the Atlanta metro area stood at 2,728,100, before seasonal adjustment, compared to 2,901,200 at the end of 2019.

In 2020, the metro area lost 159,600 jobs, of which 149,300 were in the private sector with the remainder being decreases in government employment.

Over the first three months of 2021, the metro area lost another 13,500 jobs. While it is not unusual to see job losses in the post-Christmas season, the losses in the first quarter of 2021 were greater than for the comparable period in 2019 when the Atlanta metro area posted a net job loss of 6,500 jobs between January and March.

Because losses are expected during certain times of the year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a seasonally adjusted report as well, but the comparison with 2019 remains the same. In the first three months of 2021, BLS reported that the Atlanta metro area saw a net job gain of 23,800 jobs after seasonal adjustment, but this was down from the 32,900 job gain for the same period in 2019.

Shifts in the Atlanta job market varies by county

While jobs data tend to focus on the Atlanta metro area as a whole and most jobs data can only be measured at the metro area level, within the Atlanta metro area, the jobs picture for the first quarter of 2021 does vary considerably.

There is no current data that breaks out jobs data by county for the first quarter of the year, but labor force numbers produced by a separate BLS survey reveals that the diversity of job growth in some of the largest and fastest growing counties that comprise the Atlanta metro area.

Gwinnett County recorded an increase of nearly 3,600 in its labor force over the first three months of the year (before seasonal adjustment), while Cherokee and Forsyth counties have posted labor force increases of around 1,400 each.

In contrast, Clayton County is showing a decline of nearly 1,300 in its labor force, while DeKalb County’s labor force fell by 577 and Fulton County (the largest county in the state) recorded a drop of 245 in its labor force.

The changes highlight the fact that the metro area is not growing uniformly but that some of the largest growth is occurring outside the traditional core Atlanta counties of Fulton and DeKalb.

Moving forward, this represents a shift in the economic development fortunes of the various Atlanta-area counties, and if it continues, strengthens the case for looking not at the Atlanta metro area as a single region but understanding how counties are taking different economic growth patterns.

Comparisons with statewide figures

Even though the Atlanta metro area represents more than 60 percent of the state’s job market, the state is posting a much better recovery than the Atlanta area.

After seasonal adjustment, Georgia showed a gain of 36,200 jobs in the first three months of 2021. This compares to a gain of 30,200 jobs for the same time period in 2019.

Statewide, before seasonal adjustment, Georgia added 200 manufacturing jobs in the first quarter of 2021 even as the Atlanta metro area lost 1,700 manufacturing positions. Jobs in durable manufacturing in the state dropped by 1,400 but were offset by a 1,600 job rise in nondurable manufacturing facilities. For the Atlanta metro area, durable manufacturing jobs dropped by 700 with another 1,000-job loss in nondurable manufacturing.

In service-providing industries, the Atlanta metro area accounted for 73 percent of the state’s net job losses in the first quarter. Georgia saw a loss of 19,700 jobs in the first quarter of 2021, before seasonal adjustment, compared to a loss of 14,400 jobs in the Atlanta metro area.