Showing posts with label Georgia workers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia workers. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

State program to help Georgians with their mortgages


The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has launched a new program to help the approximately 150,000 Georgians whose mortgages are greater than the value of their homes.

The Underwater Georgia program is targeted to relieve this pressure by using federal funds to make a one-time payment to reduce the principal balance on their home.

Georgia’s housing market was hit hard by the Great Recession, and some Georgia homeowners still find that their houses are worth less today than before the recession.

Many workers find while job opportunities are increasing, they are unable to move to jobs in new areas because their outstanding mortgage is higher than the selling price of their house. This is causing inefficiencies in the labor market as workers are reluctant to take jobs that will cause them to move and lose money when they sell their residence, which is the principal source of savings for most families.

By reducing homeowners’ mortgage principal, the program hopes to reduce stress in families, improve the housing market, and allow workers to pursue job opportunities even if it requires a move to a new area.

Application process

For three weeks, from September 28-October 18, 2016, Georgia residents will be able to visit www.UnderwaterGeorgia.org to fill out a pre-application for these funds. 

All applications will be assigned a number, which will be sent to a third party for a blind random selection process.  Next, the randomly selected applications will be reviewed, in the order selected, for eligibility and those deemed eligible will continue through the process. 

To be eligible, a homeowner must:

•                    Owe more than home is currently worth. 
•                    Owe no more than $250,000.
•                    Purchased home before 2012.
•                    Less than 90 days late on mortgage.
•                    Mortgage lender is willing to participate.
•                    Have not previously received HomeSafe Georgia assistance.

It is expected that the program will receive more applications than available funding, so it is unlikely that all eligible applicants will receive assistance. Based on current funding, an estimated 2,700-3,000 eligible Georgia homeowners will receive assistance.

How the Program works

According to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, for successful applicants, a one-time payment will be made to your lender/servicer on your behalf. The funds will be used to reduce your principal balance, usually on the first mortgage. The funds will be provided as an interest-free loan. A subordinate lien will be placed on the home, for which the balance will be forgiven at 20% each year.

After 5 years, the lien will be cancelled.

If you sell your home before the lien is cancelled and you have equity in the home, you will have to repay the portion of the loan that is outstanding. If you sell your home before the lien is cancelled and there is no equity in the home, repayment will not be required. HomeSafe Georgia will subordinate to a “no cash out” refinance.

Determining Eligibility

To see if you are eligible to participate in this program, you may take DCA’s Eligibility Quiz here.

Customer Service representatives will be available 24 hours a day to take calls during the pre-application submission period.

Toll Free: 1-877-519-4443
Para asistencia en Espa├▒ol, presiene (4) cuatro.

TDD/TYY Line: toll free 1-877-204-1194



Friday, July 29, 2016

Georgia’s job growth continues in the first half of 2016

For the first six months of 2016, the state added 29,800 jobs compared to 26,100 jobs for the same period in 2015, although both numbers were lower than the 37,600 jobs added in the first half of 2014 according to not seasonally adjusted data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Although generally the job growth was seen as showing continued strength, Georgia’s percentage gain fell slightly below the nation. The first half increase represented a 0.7% rise in nonfarm jobs, compared to a 0.8% rise nationally.

Over the 12 months ending in June, the state added 121,600 jobs for an increase of 2.8% compared to a national rate of 1.8%. All numbers are before seasonal adjustment factors. Using seasonally adjusted numbers, Georgia’s over-the-year increase looked even better, rising to 2.9% since June 2015 compared to the nation’s 1.7% increase.

Looking at the over-the-year increase, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler noted that “when you compare that to the rest of the nation as a percentage growth, we’re actually doing much better than the nation on the average.”

Services and construction industries lead the way

The leisure and hospitality industry outpaced all other industries in the state during the first half of 2016, added 30,700 jobs, twice as many as professional and business services, which added 15,300 jobs for the same time period. Construction continued producing good job numbers adding 7,600 net new jobs over the past six months.

Industries recording fewer jobs over the six months through June included retailing (-11,200), state government (-6,600), and education and health services (-5,100). For these three industries, job losses in the first half of the year are not unusual and all recorded smaller losses than for the same time period last year, except education and health services.

For the 12 months ending in June, professional and business services recorded the highest number of net new jobs (32,700), followed by leisure and hospitality (24,100), retail (16,700), and construction (12,300).

Over the year, the information industry posted the only annual decline, losing 1,700 jobs or 1.6% of its employment total.

Construction and service job growth stronger in Georgia than the nation

Even as employment in the state outpaced the nation, the picture was mixed for different industries.

The remarkable growth in construction jobs in Georgia becomes more obvious when compared to the nation. Over the past 12 months, while construction jobs in Georgia grew by 7.3%, nationally industry employment rose by 3.5%.

Both the leisure and hospitality industry and the professional and business services showed much faster growth in Georgia than in the nation as a whole. Georgia’s leisure and hospitality industry employment has risen by 5.2% over the past year, while nationally the industry has grown by 2.8%.

Professional and business services employment has risen by 5.1% in the state while growing by 2.7% nationally.

Information industry falling behind in Georgia

While employment in some industries is growing faster in Georgia than the nation, other industries are seeing opposite trends.

The information industry saw the opposite trend. While the information industry in Georgia has lost 1.6% of its jobs since last June, the industry’s employment for the entire country has grown by 1.7%.


While education and health services employment in the state grew by 2% over the year, nationally, the industry posted a 3% employment growth rate.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler responds to labor force problems by threatening unemployed workers

Yesterday, I posted a blog on this site detailing a number of news reports about Georgia’s labor force, most of them negative.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler chose to respond by posting a YouTube video threatening workers over the smaller issue of unemployment insurance fraud in a response that could be considered both tone-deaf and irresponsible.



From the University of California Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education’s report on “Producing Poverty: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Production Jobs in Manufacturing”, to the New York Times’s story on “Hiring Hurdle: Finding Workers Who Can Pass a Drug Test,” the message is that Georgia’s labor force needs the same positive approach that the state puts towards economic development.

The AAUW’s finding on the large pay inequality between men and women in Georgia, or the U.S. Department’s view that tightening the rules on overtime will affect more than 158,000 low wage workers in Georgia, are additional measures that the state’s workforce needs positive reinforcement.

That should not be a hard message for state officials to understand, as they should know that attracting employers to Georgia depends on supplying companies with good quality workers.

Yes, unemployment insurance fraud is a problem in Georgia, as it is elsewhere, and Georgia has done a reasonable job of enforcing the rules, but focusing on this story to the exclusion of the more critical challenges facing Georgia workers is a misplaced priority.

He could just as easily made a video addressing worker misclassification that costs Georgia workers millions of dollars each year in lost wages, but I don’t think we will see that video anytime soon.

There are simply bigger issues facing Georgia’s workers, and it makes Mr. Butler’s choice of topics look like an attempt to distract the citizens of Georgia from the more important issues facing the state’s workers.