Showing posts with label atlanta employment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label atlanta employment. Show all posts

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Office jobs dominate employment while physicians dominate wages in the Atlanta area in 2021

Workers in office and administrative support occupations were the largest major category by employment, while medical doctor occupations recorded the highest average pay among detailed occupations in the Atlanta area in May 2021, according to new information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey.

Employment by major categories

Among the major categories, the largest percentage of workers were found in the office and administrative support occupations (13%) with sales and related fields and transportation and material moving occupations each containing approximately 10% of the area’s workforce.

Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations represented 5.3% of employment, while healthcare support occupations accounted for another 2.8%.

In contrast, workers employed in the life, physical, and social science occupations totaled only 0.6% of the area’s workforce, only two-thirds of the percentage of workers in this category nationally.

Highest paying occupations

Among the major categories, in the Atlanta area management occupations offered the highest average wages at $124,850 followed by legal occupations at $105,370.

For detailed occupations, obstetricians and gynecologists were at the top spot averaging $338,680 per year, followed by neurologists ($336,230), radiologists ($330,350), all other surgeons ($329,800), and anesthesiologists ($307,730).

Actuaries was the highest paying occupation outside the medical field, averaging $245,520. Among detailed occupations, 12.6% of workers were in occupations that averaged more than $100,000 per year.

Lowest paying occupations

Amusement and recreation attendants were the lowest paid detailed occupational group in the Atlanta area with wages averaging $21,570.

Other low paid occupations included cashiers ($23,260), fast food and counter workers ($24,120), and hosts and hostesses at restaurants, lounges, and coffee shops ($23,080).

Overall, average annual wages in the Atlanta area were $59,100 in May, 2021 with 61% of workers in occupations that fell below that average. Food preparation and serving related occupations were the lowest paid major category with average annual wages of $26,890. 

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.

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.

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.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Georgia metro areas record double-digit job losses for April, Brunswick loses 24% of private sector employment

Atlanta Private Sector Employment, 2015-April 2020
Brunswick Private Sector Employment, 2015-April 2020

The impact of employment losses due to the coronavirus-related shutdowns reverberated throughout Georgia in April.


Statewide, more than 457,000 private sector jobs disappeared over the month plus another 18,500 jobs in government. Despite these losses, the state fared better than the nation.

Georgia recorded a net job loss of 10.3% in April with a private sector job loss of 11.7%. Both these percentages were better than for the nation as a whole, which reported net job losses of 13% and private sector job losses of 14.6%.

For the Atlanta metro area, which represents more than 60% of the state’s labor market, job losses in the private sector totaled 11.3%.

Smaller metro areas in the state recorded even larger percentage losses over the month.

The comparatively small Brunswick area saw 24% of its private sector jobs disappear in one month.

Savannah and Warner Robins saw more than 15% of their private sector jobs vanish in April, while Columbus, Ga., recorded private sector job losses of more than 12%.

The Rome area escaped relatively easily over the month with a job loss of 5%.

Albany, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus with Dougherty County reporting a case rate of nearly 2,000 per 100,000 population, actually only suffered job losses in line with the state average.

The losses were divided between goods producing industries and service-providing industries with goods producers shedding 10.1% of their jobs, while service-providing private companies lost 11.7% of their March employment.

Unemployment rates

Consistent with the job losses in April, unemployment rates in the state moved up sharply. Statewide, Georgia recorded an unemployment rate of 12.2%, before seasonal adjustment, although that remained below the nation’s rate of 14.4%.

Among metro areas, Dalton recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 20.5%. Both Savannah and Brunswick reported unemployment rates in excess of 15%.

Valdosta showed the lowest unemployment rate among the state’s metro areas at 9.9%.

Looking ahead

Georgia has been one of the first states to re-open its economy. Increases in employment due to the re-opening of businesses may be partially offset by losses in business as some individuals remain reluctant to possible exposing themselves to the virus by shopping, dining, etc.

That combination of factors makes it difficult to predict employment figures for May, although they will be closely watched by others in the nation to see how the state’s economy rebounds from its April losses.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Atlanta saves Georgia from net loss of jobs in 2019

Georgia showed the slowest annual growth in nonfarm employment in 8 years and the Atlanta area made up for a decline in the rest of the state’s job market in 2019, according to revised jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revises its preliminary job figures from April through December of the previous year as a result of an annual benchmark processing to reflect 2019 employment counts primarily from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), as well as updating of seasonal adjustment factors.

Georgia’s net job increase fell from a preliminary growth estimate of 69,400 to a revised estimate of 63,200 for calendar year 2019 resulting in a state growth rate of 1.4%, the same as the national average.

Employment in the Atlanta area was revised upwards from a preliminary estimate of 66,700 to a revised estimate of 69,100.

With the changes, the rest of the state actually declined by 5,900 jobs in 2019; the first time this has occurred since 2011.

Metropolitan areas in the state recording declining employment over the year included Athens (-1,300), Columbus (-1,100), Dalton (-2,000) and Macon (-300). Valdosta reported no net job growth for the calendar year.

Warner Robins was the standout area for Georgia with a net addition of 2,000 jobs in 2019.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Georgia jobs data for 3rd quarter revised up; job growth concentrated around Atlanta metro area

Georgia 12-month percentage job growth rate, Jan 2017-Oct 2019
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

With release of revised job numbers for September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has revised upward seasonally adjusted job growth in Georgia for the 3rd quarter of 2019.

Preliminary data indicated the state had added 22,000 jobs in the July-to-September period.

With the revised data, that number grew to 22,400, besting the numbers for the 3rd quarter of 2018, which showed job growth of 22,100.

The Atlanta area recorded a better than originally reported job increase over the quarter. Preliminary estimates indicated that Georgia’s largest metro area had added 14,700 jobs but the revised data showed the increase to be 16,400.

With the revision, Savannah lost fewer jobs than originally reported with preliminary data showing a quarterly loss of 1,800 jobs and revised loss of only 1,500 jobs. Over the past 12 months, Savannah’s job growth has been anemic with an increase of only 1,000 net new jobs out of a total job market of more than 180,000 jobs.

Altogether, the number of new jobs added in all metro areas in the state rose from 3,900 in the preliminary estimate to 16,700 in the revised estimate.

Job Growth Concentrated in the Atlanta Metro Area

Despite the upward revisions, new jobs have become increasingly concentrated in the Atlanta metro area.

With the concentration of new jobs in the Atlanta area, the state’s overall job growth rate can be misleading.

While Georgia has a statewide job growth rate of 1.6% over the past 12 months, if you subtract out the Atlanta metro area, the rest of the state is posting a job growth rate of less than 0.8%. The Atlanta metro area is currently posting a 2.1% job creation rate.

Even though Georgia’s metro area is home to 61% of the state’s employment, for the first 10 months of 2019 (January-October), the Atlanta metro area accounted for more than 9 out of 10 new jobs.

Of the 54,400 net new jobs created in Georgia over the recent 10-month period, 50,400 were in the Atlanta area.

As a comparison, in the first 10 months of 2018, of the 74,400 net new jobs created in Georgia, the Atlanta area saw 49,100 net new jobs, or 2/3’s of the state’s total.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Georgia employment rebounds in the third quarter of 2019

Nonfarm employment in Georgia grew by 22,000 in the third quarter of 2019, rebounding from a disappointing 11,700 job gain in the second quarter of the year.

The state’s gain over the quarter was similar to the third quarter of 2018 when Georgia posted an increase of 22,100 jobs.

Over the past 12 months, employment in the state grew by 77,400 jobs to a total of 4,635,600. The increase of 1.7% over the past year shows a slowdown compared to September 2018 when the state had posted a 12-month increase of 97,200 jobs that translated to 2.2% job gain.

Georgia Nonfarm Job Growth, 3rd Quarter, 2014-2019

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Private Sector and Government In Georgia

Compared to the second quarter of the year, both the private sector and government job markets showed significant improvement in the third quarter.

Private sector employment (excluding agriculture) grew by 17,300 jobs over the quarter compared to a 9,000-job growth in the second quarter, while government employment grew by 4,700 jobs compared to a 2,700-job improvement in the second quarter.

Private Sector Industries

Education and health services posted the largest employment gains in the third quarter, adding 6,900 jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality services, up by 3,900 jobs.

Although professional and business services employ the largest number of private sector workers (705,800), the industry grew by only 2,000 jobs over the quarter.

The dominance of education and health service jobs and leisure and hospitality jobs over professional and business services is a change for a state where business-to-business employment has been the main jobs engine for a number of years.

The professional and business services sector remains the largest private employment sector in the state but the trend is toward more consumer-focused industries such as healthcare and restaurants.

Due to several factors, healthcare plays a smaller role in the state’s mix of employment relative to the nation. As of September, health services accounted for 11.3% of the state’s jobs compared to 13.6% for the nation.

Industries recording losses over the quarter included construction (-400), wholesale trade (-800), information (-200), and financial activities (-100).

Metropolitan Areas

The Atlanta metro area continues to be the engine for job growth in the state. Over the quarter, the metro area added 14,700 (66.8%) of the state’s 22,000 nonfarm jobs.

Over the past 12 months, the Atlanta area accounted for 49,900 of the state’s 77,400 new jobs.

Outside Atlanta, other metro areas recording job growth in the third quarter included Albany (300), Gainesville (1,200), Hinesville (300), Rome (100), and Warner Robins (300). Areas recording declines in the third quarter included Augusta (-400), Brunswick (-100), Columbus (-300), Dalton (-100), Macon (-100), Savannah (-1,800), and Valdosta (-200). The Athens area showed no net change in jobs over the third quarter of the year.

For the 12 months ending in September, all metro areas in the state posted job gains except for the Columbus area that showed a drop of 600 jobs over the year.

Note: All data come from by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are seasonally adjusted and are preliminary subject to revision.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

98% of Georgia's New Jobs are in Metro Atlanta

Georgia saw good job growth in the first three months of 2017, but virtually all of it occurred in the Atlanta metro area, according to new seasonally adjusted data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Georgia Nonfarm Employment, Jan. 2006 - March 2017
Atlanta Metro Area Nonfarm Employment, Jan. 2006 - March 2017
The state saw net new jobs rise by 30,400 in the first three months of 2017. For the 12 months ending in March, the state saw a net increase of 131,000 new jobs, resulting in a 3.0% increase over the year.

Virtually all the new jobs grew in the Atlanta metro area, which posted an increase of 29,800 new jobs for the first three months of 2017.

As a result, the Atlanta metro area accounted for 98% of net job growth. The Atlanta metro area now accounts for almost 85% of the nonfarm jobs in the state.

Overall, March was the 12th consecutive month that saw Georgia posting an increase in seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs.

Unemployment Rate

Georgia's unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, declined to 5.1% in March 2017, the lowest recorded by the state since December 2007.

In March 2016, the state's unemployment rate stood at 5.5%. 

Despite a long string of good job growth, the state's unemployment rate stays stubbornly above the national average.

In March 2017, the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.5%.

Growth Industries in Georgia

Georgia's private sector recorded most of the growth in the first quarter, rising by 29,800 jobs, while government increased by 600 net new jobs.

The state’s Construction industry added 6,400 new jobs in the first quarter, followed by Financial Activities (6,200) and Leisure & Hospitality (5,000).

Manufacturing in the state saw a dip with job losses of 2,900 in the first quarter.

In government, the slow growth was due to a loss of 1,200 local government jobs, while state government jobs grew by 1,100.

Lagging Areas

Metro areas with net declines during the first quarter of 2017 included Augusta (-1,500), Brunswick (-600), Albany (-400), Columbus (-300) and Dalton and Hinesville (-200 in each), seasonally adjusted.

Over the past 12 months, the Dalton area has shown the smallest job growth, adding only 100 net new jobs since March 2016.

The story for the rural areas outside the state’s 11 metro areas is even worse.

While BLS does not report a separate number for non-metro nonfarm employment, by calculating the net increases for all metro areas in the state, the result is no net increase in jobs in the rural parts of Georgia since March 2016.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Georgia’s job creation machine continues to slow due to job slowdown outside the Atlanta metro area

Georgia 12-month percentage change in nonfarm jobs. seasonally adjusted, 2014-2016

Despite upbeat messages from the Georgia Department of Labor, Georgia’s December 2016 nonfarm employment count only equaled its 2015 job growth and fell below the levels set in December 2013 and 2014, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In December, Georgia added 5,900 jobs, seasonally adjusted, the same as in December 2015. Before seasonal adjustment, net jobs dropped by 9,700. In December 2015, the state lost only 2,100 jobs before seasonal adjustment.

As a result, Georgia’s 12-month net increase in seasonally adjusted 103,300 net new jobs with a job growth rate of 2.4 percent, still higher than the national average at 1.5 percent, but the slowest job increase recorded in the state since 2013.


As a result of the slowdown in new job creation, even as the state’s labor force grew, the state’s unemployment rate in December was virtually unchanged over the year.

In December 2016, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 5.4 percent compared to a 5.5 percent rate in December 2015, a statistically insignificant difference.

Over the past year, the state added 27,767 people to its labor force, and the number of unemployed grew by 10,648, not seasonally adjusted.

Atlanta Metro Area

The slowdown in job growth was concentrated outside the Atlanta metro area.

In December 2016, the Atlanta metro area added 4,500 jobs, seasonally adjusted and accounted for three-fourths of the state’s net job growth.

Over the year, the Atlanta’s area growth rate reached 2.7 percent, slightly below 2016’s rate of 2.8 percent. For the year, the Atlanta metro area added 70,500 jobs, about the same number of jobs as in 2015.

Other Metro Areas in Georgia

Unfortunately, the state continues to acknowledge the problem of slowing job growth outside the Atlanta metro area.

Three metro areas in Georgia added fewer than 300 net new jobs over the past 12 months. Dalton added 200 jobs over the year, Valdosta added 100, and Hinesville actually has lost 100 jobs since December 2015.

While BLS does not publish a number for nonmetro nonfarm jobs in the state, with the Atlanta and Savannah metro areas accounting for three-fourths of the state’s new jobs and the smaller metros suffering, it is fair to say that the rural parts of the state are suffering at least to the same degree as the small metro areas.

Unless conditions change by an influx of new jobs into the rural and small metro areas, the Atlanta area will continue to be a mecca for state residents looking to escape dead-end careers, and the state will be steadily transformed as economic power (leading to political power) continues to concentrate in the Atlanta area.

Nonfarm Employment December 2016  /  12-months ending in December 2016
(Seasonally Adjusted. Preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Statewide Georgia   5,900      /   103,300
Albany                          -200  /    1,000
Athens                       -1,400  /    1,700
Atlanta                        4,500  /  70,500
Augusta                             0  /   4,800
Brunswick                     200  /      500
Columbus                      800  /    1,900
Dalton                             0    /      200
Gainesville                    600  /     2,100
Hinesville                     -100  /     -100
Macon                          -200  /      700
Rome                            -100  /      400
Savannah                    1,100  /    6,800
Valdosta                       -400  /       100

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Georgia unemployment insurance appeals unit named best in nation among large states

The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) has named the Georgia Department of Labor’s (GDOL) Unemployment Insurance (UI) Appeals Tribunal the best performer among the nation’s 22 largest states for handling UI appeals.
“The Atlanta Regional Office of the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration congratulates the Georgia Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance staff on their recent award,” said USDOL Regional Administrator Les Range. “As the recipient among large states of the Department’s 2016 Excellence Award for UI Appeals Decisions, they have demonstrated excellence in performing timely and quality appeal decisions and hearings. We appreciate their hard work in serving Georgia’s citizens.”
The award is based on the state’s performance for the period from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. The GDOL previously won the award for large states in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013. 
“This recognition again confirms that our staff is doing a fine job administering our unemployment insurance program,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “It’s imperative that correct and fair decisions are reached when unemployment benefits are awarded or denied. This ensures that eligible claimants get the benefits they deserve, as quickly as possible, while preventing undeserved payments that can increase the tax rates of employers who support the system.”
The USDOL’s award is presented to the top performers from small, mid-sized and large states. A state’s size is based on the number of workers covered under the state’s unemployment insurance program. There are more than 4 million covered workers in Georgia. The 21 other states that comprise the large state category are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
For more information about Georgia Department of Labor services to employers and jobseekers, visit

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.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Federal statistical agency confirms that Georgia had even a better job growth record than originally reported

After reviewing 2015 jobs data, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has boosted Georgia by additional 27,600 new jobs in 2015. The total brings the state’s job growth up to 118,700 for the last calendar year.

With the adjustment, Georgia’s nonfarm employment at the end of 2015 stood at 4,330,100 jobs – a new record.

Georgia Nonfarm Employment, Jan. 1990 - Jan. 2016, Seasonally Adjusted
The increase means that Georgia’s job growth rate rose from a preliminary figure of 2.2 percent to a final figure of 2.8 percent placing Georgia with the 3rd highest job growth rate among large states in 2015. In 2014, the state recorded a 3.4 percent growth rate.

Only Florida, which grew by 3.2 percent, and California, which grew by 3.1 percent, showed better percentage gains in new jobs among the nation’s 11 largest states.

While impressive, the state’s job growth in 2015 was its second best in this century, still falling short of its 2014 level when Georgia added 137,600 new jobs. Prior to 2014, the last time the state experienced this level of growth was in 1999 when it added 122,400 jobs over the calendar year.

Georgia ended the calendar year with an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, its lowest unemployment rate for a calendar year since 2007. Over the year, the state’s labor force grew by 38,037 as 80,479 more people found employment and the number of unemployed dropped by 42,442.

Even as the state’s unemployment rate has dropped from double digits during the most recent recession to single digit numbers, Georgia’s labor force has shown little change, a situation that is showing up in labor numbers across the nation. Economists are unsure of the reason for the slow growth of the labor force although some attribute it to an increasing number of retirees as baby boomers retire.

Atlanta Metro Area

The Atlanta area continues to be the state’s main growth engine adding 70,400 jobs in 2015. The metro area’s rate of job growth did slow in 2015, equaling the state’s job growth rate of 2.8 percent but slower than the growth rates recorded for the metro area in 2014 (4.2 percent) and 2013 (3.2 percent).

As of the end of calendar year 2015, the Atlanta metro area was base for 2,622,600 jobs, more than 60 percent of the state’s total nonfarm employment.

Over the calendar year, the metro area accounted for 59 percent of the state’s new jobs.

Each spring, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ nonfarm payroll estimates for states and metropolitan areas are revised as a result of annual benchmark processing to reflect 2015 employment counts primarily from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. These changes are reflected in this release.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Union membership declines in Georgia in 2015

Georgia lost 8,000 union members in 2015, even as the state gained wage and salary workers, according to data recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2015, the number of wage and salary workers in Georgia grew from 3,926,000 to 4,016,000 while union membership dropped from 170,000 to 162,000. As a result, the percentage of union members in Georgia’s workforce fell from 4.3 percent in 2014 to 4.0 percent in 2015.

Percentage of wage and salary workers in Georgia 
belonging to unions, 2000 to 2015
Georgia recorded the fourth lowest union membership percentage among the 50 states in 2015.

States with the lowest percentage of
wage and salary workers belonging to unions in 2015

South Carolina
North Carolina

In 2000, the union membership rate in Georgia was 6.5 percent, and there were 237,000 union members.

For the nation, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions--was 11.1 percent in 2015, unchanged from 2014. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.8 million in 2015, was little different from 2014. In 2000, the union membership rate was 13.4 percent, and there were 16.3 million union workers.

Looking at nearby states, both Alabama and South Carolina posted declines in the percentage of union members. Alabama’s percentage of union members shrank from 10.8 in 2014 to 10.2 in 2015. South Carolina’s percentage fell slightly from 2.2 to 2.1 percent.

The story was different in Florida where, in contrast to Georgia, the percentage of wage and salary workers belonging to unions in Florida grew by 91,000 over the year even while total wage and salary employment decreased by 48,000. As a result, the percentage of union members rose from 5.7 percent in 2014 to 6.8 percent in 2015.

Data on union membership are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation's civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the true population value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence. The state data preserve the long-time practice of highlighting the direction of the movements in state union membership rates and levels regardless of their statistical significance.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Want a Better Job? Become Data Savvy

Looking at new employment projections data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the message is that individuals looking for good jobs in the future will need stronger data skills.
Above are some of the occupations with largest projected future job growth and the highest median annual wage according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What do they have in common?

Answer: Working with data and numbers are important aspects of each of these occupations.

Now, to be clear, none of these jobs necessarily require majors in mathematics or statistics. Those “pure” math jobs still exist but none of them fall into the category of the largest projected growth.

Rather, these jobs are “translational” occupations.

By translational, I mean jobs where the incumbents must understand and appreciate data and statistical concepts and be able to take those concepts and translate them into other forms of knowledge using both data skills plus verbal and social skills.

The jobs with the greatest potential all require some degree of skill in analyzing data and making judgments based on that analysis.

Computers, along with the Internet, are providing greater abilities to collect and analyze large amounts of data. In this environment, it is no surprise that occupations that can take advantage of technology to add insights are increasingly valuable to employers.

For example, the BLS definition of Software Developer reads:

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.”
Typical duties of a software developer include:

·       Analyze users’ needs and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs
·       Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and systems
·       Design each piece of an application or a system and plan how the pieces will work together
·       Create a variety of models and diagrams (such as flowcharts) that instruct programmers how to write software code
·       Ensure that a program continues to function normally through software maintenance and testing
·       Document every aspect of an application or a system as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades
·       Collaborate with other computer specialists to create optimum software

Yes, an understanding of math is needed, but applying those concepts in a creative way is just as important for success.

Software developers need to think in terms of data but then take that process to create results.

Even among the so-called “helping professions”, data knowledge is an essential skill for advancement. Registered Nurses are on this list. Do Registered Nurses need math and an understanding of data?

In an online article titled, “How Do Nurses Use Math in their Jobs?” J. Lucy Boyd writes:

“Nurses routinely use addition, fractions, ratios and algebraic equations each workday to deliver the right amount of medication to their patients or monitor changes in their health. Nursing schools often test new students on their mathematical prowess, requiring a remedial course in medical math if necessary. Even in state-of-the-art medical facilities, successful nurses must have sharp mathematical skills.”

Again, these jobs are not confined to natural born mathematicians, or even people with advanced math skills; but they will go to those willing to embrace the concepts and use math in a practical manner.

As a final argument in favor of employees who can deal with data and analysis, let’s look again at the BLS list of occupations projected to have the largest job growth.

This time let us look at the lowest paying jobs on that same list:
These jobs are also projected to have the largest growth by 2024, and there will be plenty of them, but in each case, the data skills required are very basic and none of them require data analysis.

In the 19th Century, rising up the economic ladder required the ability to read and write a language.

In the 21st Century, the ability to read and write a language is balanced by an equal ability to understand math, be comfortable with data and do some level of data analysis.

No, math majors are not required, and a PhD in Mathematics or Statistics is not the best preparation for these high pay, high growth jobs. Working with data is fundamentally different than understanding advanced mathematics.

Of course, this does not mean the end of language majors. In fact, it requires people who can move between the worlds of data and language. Those who can feel comfortable with data and still have the verbal and social skills to creatively understand the value of the data.

If the BLS employment projections are correct, then the future belongs not to math “geeks” but rather to those who are Data Savvy.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year: Atlanta area ends 2015 on high note

The Atlanta area posted the greatest percentage growth in jobs among the largest metro areas in the nation for the most recent 12-month period, according to newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Over the year, the Atlanta metro area saw a 3.4% increase that translates into 86,500 new jobs. 

Among the large metros, the Dallas area recorded the next greatest increase, rising 3.0%. Houston showed the smallest annual increase at 0.8%.For the three months ending in November, Atlanta added 50,300 jobs, which was the most jobs created for the fall period looking at records going back to 1990.

As a result of this burst of job creation, the metro area’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.0%, a rate last recorded in 2008. In November 2014, the metro area’s unemployment rate stood at 6.1%.

Despite the large number of new jobs, the metro area has seen only a small increase in its labor force, rising by less than 16,000 people in the past year, an increase of 0.5%.

The combination of new jobs plus a lagging labor force places greater pressure on employers trying to hire and retain employees. 

Atlanta continues its role as the job engine for the state.

The Atlanta area is increasingly becoming the key to economic growth in the state. Here are a few indicators of the Atlanta metro area’s importance to Georgia:

Percentage of Georgia’s job growth attributable to the Atlanta metro area:
1-Month: 86.4%
3-Month: 64.2%
1-Year:  92.5%

5-Years: 78.1%

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Is Atlanta running out of workers?

With the Atlanta region seeing continued employment growth, employers may need to leave jobs unfilled if they cannot find sufficient numbers of qualified workers.

Back in 2008-2009 during the recession, it would have been a question that would get you laughed out of a conference: Is the Atlanta region running out of workers?

From the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2010, the Atlanta area shed more than 200,000 jobs. Since then, the area’s employment has grown by more than 390,000. In October alone, the metro area recorded 32,400 new jobs. 

For the 12 months ending in October, the Atlanta metro area’s 3.5% increase placed it as the largest percentage increase among the nation’s 10 top population centers, beating areas like Dallas and Los Angeles and far outdistancing the nation’s 2% employment increase.At the same time, as impressive as the job creation has been, so far 2015 has seen a net increase of 9,100 fewer jobs compared to the same period in 2014.

Are businesses in the Atlanta area creating fewer new jobs simply because they are running out of good candidates to hire? If so, what options are available to increase the pool of available workers?

Labor Force

Back during the depths of the recession, Atlanta’s labor force (which the government defines as the number of workers employed plus those unemployed but actively seeking work) hit a low of about 2.7 million after climbing steadily over the previous 18 years. The drop off could easily be explained by the large number of workers who, faced with unemployment, chose instead early retirement or just became discouraged and dropped out of the labor force.

It was expected that as the economy improved, those workers would rejoin the labor force. Since that low point, labor force for the Atlanta metro area has grown much slower than the number of new jobs. From 2010 to 2012, about 102,000 people were added to the area’s labor force. Since then, only another 27,000 have been added in the past 30 months.

The slow growth in labor force is not confined to Georgia. Looking forward, a recent federal government report anticipates that rate of growth in the nation’s labor force will continue to decline. From 1994 to 2004, the nation’s labor force grew by 12.5%. The government now expects the U.S. labor force to grow by only 5.0% from 2014 to 2024.

Population is not an issue in the Atlanta metro area as the region continues to add people. The Census Bureau estimates that between 2010 and 2014, the Atlanta metro area has added more than 327,000 new residents.

What happened to the rest? Economists speculate that the lack of growth in labor force numbers can be attributed to two simultaneous trends. With an ageing population, it is thought that older workers are retiring, while younger folks choose school over work believing that more education will make them more valuable to employers in the future. It is also possible that some discouraged workers forced out of the labor force from the recession have given up and will never return.

There are some anecdotal information in support of these theories. In addition, the recession saw a spike in the number of workers applying for Social Security disability. Those on permanent disability may represent an additional group of former workers who plan to never return to employment.

Migration within Georgia

While the Atlanta area has been “red hot” in terms of job growth, the same cannot be said for the rest of the state. Smaller metro areas, such as Albany and Brunswick, actually continue to record employment losses. The Albany area employs about the same number of workers as it did in the early 1990's, while Brunswick and Valdosta have reported no net job growth in the past 10 years.

Could these workers be persuaded to move to the Atlanta area? It is possible, although it would be mainly younger workers and the more educated who would be most likely to seek out new opportunities leaving behind an older, less educated workforce in those areas.

While it is certain that these areas would like to attract businesses to relocate to their areas, increasingly, it appears that large metro areas provide benefits not available in smaller communities. These benefits include a large number of potential customers, easy interaction with both suppliers and customers, and improved social and cultural infrastructure (schools, hospitals, museums, music venues, etc.) that are simply not available without a large population.

Even if Atlanta was able to attract more workers from these three smaller metro areas, their combined labor forces are less than 175,000. Moving even 10% of these to Atlanta would boost the Atlanta metro by only 17,000 or so. It would take migration from all parts of Georgia to significantly boost the Atlanta area’s labor force, which already accounts for approximately half of the state’s labor force.

Migration from other states

The Atlanta region has had particular success in encouraging people from other parts of the U.S. to relocate to the Atlanta region. Much of the area’s growth in the 1990's came from people moving from other southeastern states, as well as the Northeast and Midwest, to Georgia.

Some of the causes of this previous migration might be hard to re-create. Previous so-called “rust belt” states are also experiencing recovering economies so that people are not as desperate to move from their home areas. While Georgia has previously exploited its role as a “right-to-work” state, other states, such as Indiana and Michigan have now passed similar laws. West Virginia may be the next state to remove this incentive for companies to relocate to Georgia.

Finally, the return migration of African-Americans back to southern states has occurred and is not likely to be repeated in such a large scale in the future.

Migration from outside the U.S.

Unlike the Northeast, Georgia did not greatly benefit from an influx of European immigrants in the 19th Century. A report from the Pew Research Center indicates that from 2009 to 2014, the number of Mexicans in the United States actually declined by a net of 130,000. The report speculates that “the slow recovery of the U.S. economy after the Great Recession may have made the U.S. less attractive to potential Mexican migrants and may have pushed out some Mexican immigrants as the U.S. job market deteriorated. In addition, stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, particularly at the U.S.-Mexico border (Rosenblum and Meissner, 2014), may have contributed to the reduction of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S. in recent years.”

As immigrants find better opportunities closer to home, they are less likely to search for jobs in the U.S. Those immigrants who are more likely to come to the U.S., such as Syrians, Iraqis, and others whose own homelands are being disrupted by war, are finding it harder to emigrate as the U.S. strengthens its barriers to entry.

As state leaders speak about in discouraging the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Georgia, the result might not only dampen Middle Eastern refugees’ enthusiasm for relocating to Georgia, it may also give pause to immigrants from other parts of the world who might feel that Georgia is not a welcoming location for any non-U.S. citizens regardless of religion or national origin.


Labor Force: Enticing people back into the labor force may take a combination of offering higher wages and providing social support (such as daycare, improved transportation, etc.) to make work both possible and profitable. Other possibilities include allowing more work to be done at home. Education, often offered by policymakers as a solution, might have long-term effects, but cannot quickly solve the current deficits in the labor force.

Migration within Georgia: The Georgia Department of Labor can make information about job availability in the Atlanta area more readily available to residents in other parts of the state. There may need to communicate the advantages of moving to the Atlanta area, even to the point of helping people understand their options for housing, transportation, etc.

Migration from other states: The Georgia Department of Economic Development could begin a campaign similar to their corporate relocation and expansion efforts but one targeted at workers rather than companies. By focusing on certain skillsets that are most in demand, the agency could encourage both new workers and existing workers to consider relocating to Georgia for their career futures.

Migration from outside the U.S.: Georgia needs to make clear that citizens from other nations with legal work visas are welcomed in the state and help encourage conditions that help immigrants make an easier transition to living in Georgia.

Finally, a less desirable solution to the labor force problem is to have the state’s economy slow down so that the state’s businesses will have less need for additional workers. While it is unlikely that the state would cause such a slowdown deliberately, Georgia is very tied to the national economy and another national recession will certainly impact the state’s business community. Remembering that the previous recession ended six years ago, it is certainly possible that another downturn will develop, which will relieve pressure on Georgia’s slow-growth labor force.

Without any of these solutions, Georgia’s employment numbers may fade on their own as businesses fail to find qualified applicants and leave jobs unfilled.