Showing posts with label Georgia job growth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia job growth. Show all posts

Friday, May 20, 2022

Georgia maintains low unemployment rate, more job growth in April

 Georgia nonfarm jobs, January 2020 - April 2022

Data seasonally adjusted. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Georgia remained at its historical low unemployment rate of 3.1% in April, the same as in March. Since June of last year, the state’s unemployment rate has stayed consistently below 4% as employment in the state grew and the number of people unemployed buy actively seeking work continued to fall.

The state added 19,000 nonfarm jobs in April, slightly more than the revised 18,200 jobs recorded for March.

Unemployment in Georgia

The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in April, while the state’s unemployment rate decreased from 4.3% in April 2021 to 3.1% in April 2022.

The number of people unemployed but actively seeking work fell to 160,885. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed persons declined by 60,472. The number of people currently unemployed in Georgia is near the unemployment level recorded in May 2001 when the state’s labor force was more than 1 million people smaller. In May 2001, the state’s unemployment rate was 3.7%.

Nonfarm jobs

Since April 2021, Georgia has seen the addition of 252,000 jobs (5.6%), although state and local government employment growth remains muted.

The private sector in the state added 17,200 jobs in April, while the government sector added 1,800 jobs. Over the past 12 months, private sector employment has grown by 246,600 (6.4%), while government employment has risen by 5,400 (0.8%).

Industries recording job losses over the month included construction (-1,400) and manufacturing (-1,200).

Job growth was most pronounced in wholesale trade (7,900), and professional and business services (6,000).

Over the most recent 12-month period, industries seeing the largest numerical increases include professional and business services (64,100), leisure and hospitality (41,700), retail trade (24,800), and health care and social assistance (19,600).

One area that remains a concern is construction, which posted a job loss of 1,400 jobs in April with industry employment 1,000 jobs below its level in April 2021. After showing solid growth in 2021, the industry has seen a decline of 6,000 jobs since January.

Atlanta, Athens, and Savannah areas

Within the state, three areas are posting significant job growth rates over the past year.

The Atlanta metro area added 11,000 of the state’s 19,000 new jobs in April. Over the past year, the Atlanta area job market has grown faster than the state as a whole, with the metro area adding 183,000 jobs, and accounting for more than 70% of the state’s job growth.

While the state has seen a 5.6% growth in new jobs since April 2021, the Atlanta metro area job market has increased by 6.6%.

Athens-Clarke County metro area added 500 new jobs in April. Over the past 12 months, the area has seen an increase of 6,200 jobs, or 6.5%.

The Savannah metro area job market declined by 900 jobs in April, its first monthly decline since October. Over the past 12 months, the Savannah area has seen the addition of 11,400 new jobs for a growth rate of 6.1%.

All three job markets are now larger than in February 2020, before the pandemic-related job downturn.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Georgia on path for fastest job growth since 1994


Georgia is on the path to its fastest job growth rate since 1994. Over the first 10 months of 2021, the state has seen the addition of 155,800 jobs for a growth rate of 3.5 percent. The fast 2021 growth rate contrasts with a 5.3 percent decline over the first 10 months of 2020 when the state saw a loss of 247,700 jobs.

The year-to-date growth rate is the fastest since 1994 when the state saw a 4 percent growth with 127,400 new jobs created in the first 10 months of the year.

























































In 1994, Georgia ended the year with 159,800 new jobs and a calendar year growth rate of 5.0 percent, its highest annual rate in the series that dates back to 1990.

Job creation by sector

Private sector job creation accounts for the vast majority of new jobs in 2021 with the private sector creating 153,800 new jobs, while government (federal, state and local combined) accounted for the remaining 2,000. Like the overall jobs rate, the private sector growth rate is the fastest for the first 10 months of the year since 1994.

Among sectors, information is showing the fastest job growth, up 8 percent over the first 10 months of 2021 with the addition of 8,800 new jobs.

Professional and business services is showing the second fastest and the largest net growth in jobs, rising by 7.2 percent with the creation of 50,800 new jobs.

Financial activities posted the slowest job growth so far in 2021 with a growth rate of 0.9 percent due to the creation of only 2,200 jobs in the sector.

Georgia metro areas

All 14 metro areas in the state have shown job gains since the beginning of 2021.

Metro areas growing faster than the state include Savannah. Atlanta, and Warner Robins. For the first 10 months of 2021, the Savannah area has recorded a 4.5 percent job growth rate, adding 8,300 jobs since the start of the year.

The Atlanta area, the largest metro area in the state, recorded the second fastest growing market, showing a 4.1 percent rate as it saw a net increase of 111,000 jobs.

Those two relatively large metro areas were followed by the smaller Warner Robins area, which posted a 3.9 percent rate with the addition of 3,000 jobs since the beginning of 2021.

Areas with the slowest job growth have included the Augusta and Albany areas. The Augusta area has added 400 jobs since the start of 2021, while the Albany area added 100 jobs. Both areas are showing job growth rates of 0.2 percent over the first 10 months of the year.



Net change in jobs December 2020 through October 2021

Percentage change in jobs December 2020 through October 2021

Statewide Georgia












Warner Robins





































Sunday, July 18, 2021

Georgia job recovery continues to show progress


Georgia nonfarm employment, seasonally adjusted

Georgia’s labor market showed progress in June and the state’s economy continued to recover, although still falling short of its pre-pandemic levels.

The state’s unemployment rate reached 4.0 percent, a level still 0.4 percentage points higher than its 3.6 percent rate recorded in March 2020. Similarly, the number of unemployed in the state dropped by 5,005 to 208,033, after seasonal adjustment. This compared to 186,995 in March 2020.

Georgia added 32,800 nonfarm jobs in June, after seasonal adjustment, the largest one-month increase since August 2020.

The Atlanta metro area accounted for all of the net increase in jobs, adding 39,000 over the month. The Atlanta area has consistently accounted for 61 percent of the state’s labor market over the past two years.

With the June job figures, Georgia employment sits now at 4,521,000, 116,000 jobs fewer than in March 2020.

At 2,781,600, the Atlanta area job market is still short 82,700 jobs from the level it obtained in March 2020.

2nd Quarter 2021

In the three months (April to June), Georgia 38,100 jobs, after seasonal adjustment, compared to a gain of 33,100 jobs in the first quarter of the year. As a comparison, in the second quarter of 2019, the state added 13,700 jobs, while in the second quarter of 2020, the state lost 340,800 jobs as pandemic-related closures and business drop-offs impacted the state’s economy.

The Atlanta metro area added 44,100 jobs in the second quarter of 2021, compared to 9,300 in the second quarter of 2019, and a loss of 239,200 jobs in the second quarter of 2020.

All information has been seasonally adjusted, provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is subject to revision.

End of pandemic-related unemployment benefits

The State of Georgia chose to end Federal pandemic unemployment benefits on June 26, 2021. This meant a loss of $300 to individuals receiving weekly unemployment benefits.

The Georgia Department of Labor has reinstated eligibility requirements for both claimants and employers that were waived during the pandemic.

As part of the change, employers will again be charged for unemployment benefits for those temporarily laid off or working few hours during the pandemic. It is anticipated that employers may become more aggressive in contesting former employees who apply for unemployment benefits.

The July unemployment figures will be watched closely to see what effect the decrease in weekly benefits will have on individuals seeking work.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

More economic indicators point to a strong recovery in Georgia’s economy


If the drop-off in Georgia’s economy in the first quarter of 2020 was dramatic, then it is equally useful to use that same word “dramatic” to describe the shape of the state’s recovery in early 2021.

New government surveys provide additional light on how strongly Georgia’s economy is rebounding after Covid-19 closures and restrictions throttled Georgia’s economy a year ago.

Business Formations Survey

The first step for an individual wishing to set up a new business is an application for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) that can grant the company or nonprofit enterprise other benefits such as applying for a business license or to hire employees.

The Census Bureau tracks the number of EIN applications as an economic measure of early-stage business activity. Even during the initial pandemic shutdown months in the first quarter of 2020, the number of applications for EINs in Georgia remained high with more than 85,000 applications received between January to May 2020. (Business Formation Statistics (BFS) (

For the first five months of 2021, this number almost doubled to more than 163,000 applications indicating a large interest in the formation of new businesses in the state.

Data on business formations by county lag the statewide numbers, but Census has just released data for Georgia counties in 2020.

As expected, the counties with the largest existing employment also tend to have the largest number of new business formations, and since these are in the Atlanta metro area, counties in the Atlanta metro area lead the list. In 2020, Fulton County reported 51,935 applications, up by more than 18,000 from 2019. DeKalb County was second with 31,442 applications (up by almost 13,000) and followed by Gwinnett County with 29,296 (up by almost 8,9000) and Cobb County at 23,941 (up by more than 7,6000). Clayton County came in fifth on the list with 14,733 new applications, up by more than 7,400 over 2019. No other Georgia county showed greater than 10,000 new applications in 2020.

Counties showing fewer applications in 2020 as compared to 2019 included Rabun, Evans, Glascock, Towns, and Colquitt counties.

Because a company that ceases operations may still retain their EIN, there is no information on the number of companies that may have ceased operations.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey

Job openings in the state reached 313,000 in March 2021, up from 170,000 for the same month a year ago, while the number of layoffs and discharges fell from 293,000 in March 2020 to 51,000 in March 2021, according to new information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of their experimental Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey states estimates (JOLTS Experimental State Estimates).

While job openings express a level of optimism on behalf of employers, the number of hires represent a real economic cost to employers, and here again, hires in Georgia in March totaled 193,000 compared to 147,000 a year ago. The hires rate for the state came in at 4.3 compared to 3.2 last year.

Equally impressive, the number of voluntary quits increased over the year from 76,000 in March 2020 to 124,000 in March 2021 with the Quits rate jumping from 1.6 to 2.8. Quits are seen as an important indicator as how much confidence workers have in their ability to find a new position. While the quits rate has been higher in the past, the current level still shows optimism from workers about their employment futures, at least sufficiently that they believe they are finding better opportunities by changing jobs.

Current Employment Statistics

For all the positive indicators highlighted above, the good news on Georgia’s economic picture must be tempered by the recognition that the state has not yet completely regained levels reached before the 2020 economic downturn.

In May, Georgia achieved an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, much better than the 9.4 percent rate in May 2020, buy still above the 3.6 percent rate in May 2019, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the same manner, while the number of unemployed in the state has been cut in half since last May, it is still some 28,000 higher than in May 2019, while the state’s nonfarm employment is still 125,000 short of its May 2019 level.

Georgia nonfarm employment, Jan. 2019 to May 2021, seasonally adjusted

All this points to the fact that while the state’s economy continues to make a record rebound from the 2020 downturn, the state’s labor force needs continued employment growth to catch up with its pre-Covid job levels.

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.


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Georgia showing uneven recovery of jobs

 Georgia saw good job growth in the 3rd quarter of 2020 as its job market saw a partial recovery from massive job losses recorded in the first half of the year.

The state’s job market is now approximately the same size as it reported three years ago, in 2017, despite its population growth over the past three years.

Georgia Nonfarm Jobs, January 2016 to September 2020

Over the 3rd quarter of 2020 (July, August, and September), the state gained 84,500 nonfarm jobs, before seasonal adjustments. This compares to a loss of 300.000 jobs in the 1st half of 2020.

With the gains through September, Georgia’s nonfarm employment stood at 4,456,200 compared to 4,619,800 in September 2019 resulting in a net job loss of 163,600 or -3.5% over the past 12 months.

Recovering sectors

Virtually all sectors, both public and private, were damaged in the first half of 2020 in response to Covid-related slowdown. In the 3rd quarter, sectors showed recovery at different rates while some sectors have not recovered at all.

Notably, the number of jobs in retail trade in September have shown a strong rebound. In September, retailers reported employment of 505,100. In December 2019, retail trade jobs in Georgia numbered 509,500 reflecting normal Christmas-related hiring. As expected, retail jobs dropped by 14,500 in January after the holidays, but the latest growth brings the number of retail jobs in the state to a level 17,600 (+3.6%) above the level reached in September 2019.

Other industries showing recovery from losses earlier in the year include construction as well as warehousing and storage jobs. Both industries recorded job declines of more than 1% in the first half of 2020, but job gains in the 3rd quarter have offset those earlier losses.

Still suffering sectors

Not all sectors have been able to post rebounds in the 3rd quarter despite the state’s overall improved numbers.

Local government employment remained below where it stood at the end of 2019 and below the levels obtained in September 2019. From December to June, local government employment in Georgia dropped by 19,900 and then continued to decline by another 600 jobs from July through September. Over the past 12 months, local government jobs have fallen by 17,600.

Georgia Local Government Jobs, January 2019 - September 2020

Wholesale trade jobs showed a similar pattern, declining by 6,400 from December through June and then dropping another 1,900 jobs between July and September. Over the past year, the industry has shed 4,300 jobs.

Georgia Wholesale Trade Jobs, January 2019 - September 2020

Atlanta metro area

Metro Atlanta Nonfarm Jobs, January 2016 - September 2020

The Atlanta metropolitan area is the largest metro area in the state accounting for 62% of the state’s job market as of the end of 2019.

Over the first six months of 2020, the metro area saw net job losses of 216,100 or 72% of the job losses incurred statewide. Private sector jobs accounted for 199,200 of those losses over the first half of the year.

In the 3rd quarter of 2020, the Atlanta metro area saw job increases of 61,800, of which 57,900 were in the private sector. Over the past 12 months, the Atlanta area has experienced the loss of 106,300 jobs or -3.7%.

With the increases, jobs in the Atlanta metro area in September totaled 2,749,700, just above the 2,735,400 jobs recorded in September 2017.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Georgia job increases in May and June fail to offset losses in April

Nonfarm Employment in Georgia, January-June 2020
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Georgia saw 248,300 fewer jobs in the 2nd quarter of 2020 compared to the 1st quarter of the year. The unemployment rate fell to 7.6% in June, down from its May rate of 9.4%.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler was quoted as saying: “June was the first month to show positive numbers in all major indicators since the pandemic started. Although it is nice to see the pendulum move in the right direction, we are not na├»ve to the fact that we may see another tick up in claims over the next few months. We will continue to work unemployment claims both new and continued to ensure all Georgians are being taken care of during these unprecedented times.”

At the end of the 2nd quarter, employment in Georgia stood at 4,370,300 jobs having given up all the job gains it had made in the past four years.

In June, employment grew by 150,200 jobs, the second consecutive month of job growth after posting a revised net growth of 99,600 jobs in May.

Despite the two months of increases, there was net job loss for the quarter as growth in May and June could not overcome the loss of 498,100 jobs in April.

Over the past 12 months, the state has suffered a net loss of 239,800 jobs, its largest net loss of jobs since 2009.


The state’s unemployment rate remained elevated compared to the state’s 3.5% unemployment rate in June 2019. The percentage of the population employed in June rose to 54.9% up from 53.5% in May. A year ago, the state’s employment-population ratio stood at 60.0%.

In June, the number of unemployed in the state stood at 373,404, also a decrease from the numbers posted in April and May.

Employment by industry

While nearly all industries posted improvements in June compared to their April and May losses, nearly all industries showed job declines over the quarter.

Overall, the private sector posted a net loss of 226,200 jobs in the second quarter with significant quarterly net losses in the leisure and hospitality sector (-88,100), the professional and business services industry (-38,000), and in health care and social assistance (-18,500).

Although nearly every industry posted job gains in June, one exception was state government, which showed a net loss of 500 jobs in June. For the quarter, state government employment declined by 7,200. 

Only federal government employment in the state showed improvements over the quarter, rising by a net of 900 jobs in the 2nd quarter.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Georgia recovers 15% of jobs lost in March and April; workforce at levels last seen in 2014

Georgia nonfarm employment, January 2014 - May 2020
After recording two months of job losses totaling 531,000, Georgia gained 79,600 jobs in May.

Both the size of March and April’s losses as well as the May gain are the largest on a record going back to 1990, which may explain why workers in the state may be feeling a bit uncertain as to the future.

The combination of losses and gains in the first five months of 2020 means that the state’s workforce is at the level it achieved in 2014, when the state's population included 500,000 fewer people. More than five years of employment increases have been wiped out in the first four months of 2020.

While most industries showed some level of recovery in the May numbers, three industries continued to suffer losses in May including government; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and information.

For the first five months of 2020, the industries incurring the greatest net job losses include accommodations and food services (-149,400), professional and business services (-64,600), and education and health care services (-41,900).

Metro areas

Since the beginning of the year, the Atlanta metro area has suffered a net loss of 299,400 jobs. The loss would have been even greater if not for the 29,000 jobs added in May. The Atlanta metro area workforce is now back to levels recorded in 2015.

Although that net loss looks bad, it is better than the net losses suffered in some of the smaller metro areas in the state.

For instance, the Albany workforce in May 2020 now stands at 57,700, nearly the level it achieved in November 1992, a loss of more than 27 years’ worth of job gains.

The Augusta metro area, which includes a portion of South Carolina, has lost five years of job gains, while Savannah, the state’s third largest metro area, now has a workforce equal to its level six years ago.

Future Unclear

How long it will take the state and the state’s metro areas to recover to their 2019 levels of employment remains to be seen.

If May is of any measure, then the recovery may occur faster than after previous recessions but only if (1) consumers and businesses feel more confident about the economy, (2) the state, which is constitutionally mandated to have a balanced budget, avoids massive funding cutbacks that will impact employment, and (3) the state can avoid a second wave of the coronavirus-related shutdowns.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Georgia 2019 job growth would have been a disaster without Atlanta

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released detailed numbers on job growth in Georgia over the past calendar year, not only for statewide Georgia, but for all the metro areas in the state.

By subtracting out the Atlanta area’s job information from the statewide information, it is possible measure how job growth in the non-Atlanta portion of the state, which I have termed RGA (Rest of Georgia), compares to the Atlanta area in calendar year 2019, and the results are not pretty.

In 2019, Georgia added 69,400 jobs for a growth rate of 1.5%, before seasonal adjustments. The calendar year growth rate was the lowest for the state since 2011, when the state posted a 1.1% rate.

The Atlanta metro area, which consist of 29 of the state’s 159 counties, recorded job growth of 66,700 over the calendar year for a growth rate of 2.4%. In contrast to the state, this year’s growth rate exceeded the rates recorded for the Atlanta area in 2017 and 2018.

By subtracting Atlanta’s numbers from the statewide totals, job growth in RGA (Rest of Georgia) was a mere 2,700 or 0.2% for calendar year 2019.

As a comparison, for the nation, job growth was 1.4% in calendar 2019.

The lack of job growth at a time when the nation is doing well economically is particularly worrisome because it represents a trend whereas the Atlanta metro area is increasingly the state’s primary job growth engine.

In 2019, RGA accounted for 38% of the total nonfarm jobs residing in Georgia. Ten years ago, RGA was home to 41% of the state’s nonfarm jobs. Since 2009, the Atlanta area has increased its job count by 623,300, as the RGA added 190,300.

Jobs by Industry

Looking at the jobs data by industry for 2019, jobs in the professional and business services sector grew by 13,000 in the Atlanta metro area while falling by 16,200 in RGA. The Atlanta area added 3,700 jobs in the information sector, while RGA lost 3,200.

Only in the financial activities sector did the number of jobs added in RGA exceed the number added in the Atlanta area. In that one industry RGA added 600 jobs, while the Atlanta area added 400.

Another way of looking at jobs is to compare the industry concentration by employment for the state, the Atlanta metro area, and the Rest of Georgia.

For example, about 15% of statewide employment is in government, which is the same as nationwide. Even though Atlanta is the state capital, only 12% of jobs in the metro area are in government, while in the rest of the state, this increases to 20% of total nonfarm jobs.

More specifically, about 4% of jobs statewide are in state government, with state government jobs in Atlanta accounting for 3% of total employment. For RGA, the percentage doubles with state government jobs accounting for 6% of total employment outside the Atlanta metro area.

Clearly, employment in government, federal, state, and local government combined, is of much more importance to the RGA than it is to the Atlanta metro area. Job losses in this sector would be more deeply felt in RGA than in the Atlanta metro area.

One sector where RGA has a significantly larger proportion of jobs compared to the Atlanta area is in manufacturing.

In the Atlanta metro area, manufacturing represents 6% of all employment, while in RGA, it accounts for 13% of employment.

Over the past 10 years, the state has added 63,100 jobs in manufacturing with the additions about evenly split between the Atlanta area and RGA.

Urban areas outside Atlanta

While the Atlanta metro area is the state’s largest urban area, Georgia is home to 13 other metropolitan areas ranging in size from Augusta with 246,000 jobs to Hinesville with 21,000.

Two of the 13 areas posted job growth rates above 2% in 2019. Gainesville added 3,400 jobs resulting in a 3.6% growth rate, and Rome added 1,100 jobs for a 2.6% job growth rate.

Although Gainesville is classified as its own metropolitan statistical area, the area sits adjacent to the Atlanta metro area and is classified by the Census Bureau as a part of the Atlanta-Athens-Clarke-Sandy Springs Combined Statistical Area (CSA). Some portion of Gainesville area residents commute to the Atlanta area daily for work.

Columbus was the only area in the state to lose jobs in 2019, with a net loss of 1,500 jobs or -1.2%. Albany recorded zero job growth over the year.

Excluding the Atlanta area, the other 13 metro areas reported a net addition of 13,100 jobs in 2019 for a growth rate of 1.1%. Unfortunately, since some of the state’s metro areas include counties outside Georgia, it is difficult to determine how changes in employment in those non-Georgia counties affected the overall employment of those metro areas that overlap two states, such as Augusta and Columbus.


Focusing only on statewide job growth can lead to misleading conclusions about the economic health of the state.

While the state as a whole is seeing job growth above the national average, the longer-term trend has been for that growth to concentrate in the Atlanta metro area.

Meanwhile, the rest of the state is seeing jobs concentrate in manufacturing and government, neither of which have been particularly strong growth engines.

Georgia is one of the largest states geographically east of the Mississippi River, so commuting to jobs in the Atlanta metro area by individuals living in other parts of the state is not a viable option for most of the state.

More likely, young people are being drawn out of other parts of the state into the Atlanta area in search of better employment opportunities as rural areas hollow out.

This trend has been evident for some time, so reversing it, even if desirable, will be difficult. Once a growth pattern like this develops, it feeds on itself, as more jobs create more opportunities, drawing more people from low growth areas to Atlanta in a self-reinforcing process.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Atlanta area accounts for all of Georgia’s net job growth in the 4th quarter of 2019

Georgia job growth, 2006-2019

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

As job growth in Georgia continues to slow, all of the state’s job growth was concentrated in the Atlanta metro area, while the rest of the state actually recorded a net job loss in the final quarter of 2019.

Preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Georgia added 17,700 new jobs in the 4th quarter of 2019 with the Atlanta metro area growing by 22,600 jobs while the rest of the state lost 4,900 jobs between October and December.

For the year, Georgia added 66,700 job. In contrast, the state added 92,500 jobs in 2018 and 69,400 jobs in 2017.

The state recorded a growth rate of 1.5%, its slowest calendar year rate of increase since 2011.
The state did set a series low unemployment rate of 3.2% in 2019 as the number of unemployed workers in the state dropped by 14,742 in the 4th quarter.

Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 29,176 while the state’s labor force grew by 17,653. The combination of slower growth in the state’s labor force with fewer people seeking work contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate.

Georgia labor force, 2014-2019

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Atlanta was key to job growth

Atlanta metro area job growth, 2006-2019

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The metro Atlanta region added 65,700 jobs in 2019, an increase of 2.3%, its best calendar year increase since 2016.

Excluding the Atlanta metro area, the rest of the state added only 1,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
The small net increase for all counties excluding the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area was the worst showing since 2011.

Other metro areas in Georgia

While many of the metro areas showed some employment gains in 2019, the number of jobs added were below those added in 2018.

Albany recorded a 500 job decline in the 4th quarter of 2019 and a loss of 100 jobs for calendar year 2019.

Athens posted a 1,100 job gain for the quarter and a 1,400 net job gain for the calendar year.

Augusta recorded a 100 job gain for the quarter and added 2,800 jobs for the year.

Brunswick showed zero net job growth over the quarter and a 700 job gain for the year.

Columbus lost 600 jobs over the quarter and was down by 1,400 jobs for the year.

Dalton added 200 jobs over the quarter with a net gain of 300 jobs over the year.

Gainesville showed an increased of 700 jobs for the quarter with a net addition of 3,500 jobs for the year.

Hinesville lost 100 jobs in the quarter but posted a 400 job gain for the year.

Macon added 100 jobs in the quarter with the result of a 700 job gain over the year.

Rome gained 300 jobs over the quarter and posted a 1,100 job gain for the year.

Savannah added 1,400 jobs in the quarter and ended the year with a net gain of 2,100 jobs.

Valdosta gained 300 jobs over the quarter and ended the year with a net gain of 700 jobs.

Warner Robins added 100 jobs in the quarter and gained 1,300 jobs over the year.

Statewide jobs numbers and unemployment are a combination of metropolitan and rural parts of Georgia and includes information for 159 counties. Net gains for the metropolitan areas in the state cannot be measured by simply totaling the changes for each area. Some metropolitan statistical areas stretch over two states, so some metro job numbers include jobs gained or lost outside of Georgia. For example, the Columbus area includes parts of Alabama.

When BLS compiles the state data for Georgia, the agency excludes counties located in other states in their statewide data but includes them when measuring metro area job numbers and unemployment rates. As it happens, the Atlanta metro area includes only counties in Georgia, so by subtracting the Atlanta metro numbers from the statewide figures, it is possible to compare the Atlanta metro region to the rest of the state.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Georgia's 2nd quarter employment growth revised downward

Job creation in Georgia was not as strong in the second quarter (April-June 2019) as originally reported.

Based on new information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state saw creation of 11,700 new jobs, down from the original estimate of 14,600 over the three-month period.

Georgia 12-month employment gains, June 2009 - June 2019

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. All data are seasonally adjusted.

With the revised figures, Georgia’s employment growth from the 2nd quarter of 2018 to the 2nd quarter of 2019 increased by 77,500 (1.7%) rather than the originally reported 80,400 (1.8%).

The increase was the smallest 2nd quarter growth rate recorded by the state since 2013 and marks the third consecutive year of continuous slowing in the creation of new jobs.

Industry Data

The 20% decline (-2,900) in new jobs between the preliminary and revised quarterly reports can be attributed to lower employment growth estimates for several industries in the state.

The private sector saw creation of 9,000 new jobs, 1,900 fewer than originally estimated.

Professional and business services declined by 3,200 compared to original estimates of a 2,400-job loss.

Leisure and hospitality showed as smaller decline than originally reported, dropping by 2,100 over the quarter, as opposed to original estimate of a 2,400-job loss.

Health care and social assistance employment rose but by a lower amount than originally estimated. Employment in the sector grew by 3,500. The preliminary estimate had shown an increase of 4,800 jobs.

Construction added fewer jobs than originally reported, growing by 3,500 jobs rather than the previously reported 4,000 job growth.

Public sector jobs (federal, state, and local governments combined) added 2,700 new jobs, down by 1,000 from original estimates.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Georgia job creation slows in the second quarter

Job creation in Georgia slowed in the second quarter of 2019. Over the April-to-June period, 14,600 jobs were created in the state compared to 14,900 in the first quarter of the year. Compared to previous second quarters, 2019 saw the slowest job creation since 2011.
Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Second quarter by industry

Professional and business services declined by 2,400 jobs offsetting a growth of 1,800 in the first quarter of the year. The second quarter was the first quarter in which the industry had posted a net loss of jobs since the first quarter of 2017.

Leisure and hospitality dropped 2,400 jobs after adding 8,200 jobs in the previous quarter. In the second quarter of 2018, the industry had added 500 jobs.

Wholesale Trade dropped by 2,000 jobs following a drop of 1,100 jobs in the first quarter. In comparison, the industry added jobs every quarter in 2017 and 2018.

Transportation, warehousing, and public utilities employment fell by 700 jobs adding to the 1,100-job loss in the first three months of the year. Prior to these two quarterly losses, the industry had added 10,200 jobs over the previous three quarters.

Health care and social assistance was a bright spot in the quarter with employment growing by 4,800, although this pace was below the 5,400 jobs created in the sector in the previous quarter.

Construction added 4,000 jobs in the April-to-June period after gaining 2,100 jobs previously.

Private sector employment accounted for 10,900 net job gains (nearly 75%) over the quarter with the remainder (3,700) new jobs created by federal, state, and local governments.

Total jobs reach a new record

Despite the slowdown in new jobs, the state posted a new record with 4,616,500 nonfarm jobs in June 2019.

The state’s unemployment rate in June stood at 3.7% in June 2019 compared to 3.9% in June 2018.

Sectors scoring their new highest levels of employment in June included retail trade (500,400) and financial activities (251,000), private educational services (83,600), and health care and social assistance (519,400).

Over the year, Georgia saw 80,400 jobs created for a 1.8% growth rate. The number of jobs created and the percent increase in June compared to the previous 12-month period was the lowest since 2013 when the state saw 68,800 new jobs in June and a growth rate of 1.7%.

All data are seasonally adjusted and reflect preliminary information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.