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

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.


1994

4.0%

1995

2.5%

1996

2.5%

1997

2.5%

1998

2.6%

1999

2.6%

2000

1.3%

2001

-1.5%

2002

-0.8%

2003

-0.7%

2004

1.8%

2005

2.3%

2006

1.6%

2007

0.6%

2008

-2.3%

2009

-4.5%

2010

0.7%

2011

0.9%

2012

1.5%

2013

1.9%

2014

2.7%

2015

2.2%

2016

1.8%

2017

1.5%

2018

1.6%

2019

1.5%

2020

-5.3%

2021

3.5%


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.

 

Area

Net change in jobs December 2020 through October 2021

Percentage change in jobs December 2020 through October 2021

Statewide Georgia

155,800

3.5

 

 

 

Savannah

8,300

4.5

Atlanta

111,000

4.1

Warner Robins

3,000

3.9

Macon

3,200

3.2

Gainesville

2,800

3.0

Brunswick

1,200

2.8

Rome

900

2.2

Hinesville

400

1.9

Valdosta

1,000

1.8

Dalton

1,000

1.5

Columbus

1,600

1.4

Athens

1,100

1.2

Augusta

400

0.2

Albany

100

0.2

 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

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

 

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

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

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

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

Shifts in the Atlanta job market varies by county

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comparisons with statewide figures

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

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

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

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


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.

 

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.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Georgia’s job growth not consistent across the state

Georgia added 29,800 net new nonfarm jobs for an increase of 0.7% in the first half of 2016 and rising by 2.8% over the year, but much of that growth was concentrated in five metro areas – Atlanta, Savannah, Brunswick, Augusta, and Gainesville, Ga.


The Savannah area continues its hot streak on jobs, adding 3,900 since December for a total of 7,100 over the past 12 months, an increase of 4.1%.

Savannah’s continued job growth is propelling it towards competition with the Augusta area as the state’s second largest metro area. In June 2012, the Augusta area had 58,700 more jobs than the Savannah area. By June 2016, this difference had shrunk by 12%.

Brunswick posted the largest percentage increase for the first half of 2016, rising by 3.1%, or 1,4,00 jobs, for annual increase of 3.3%.

Meanwhile, the state’s largest metro area, Atlanta, is showing some slowdown. While the area added 15,100 jobs since December, this is slower than the numbers it posted for the first half of 2014 (30,700) and the first half of 2015 (15,400).

For the first half of 2016, the Atlanta area posted a job growth rate of 0.6%, the same rate as for the first half of 2015. Over the past 12 months, the Atlanta area added 69,400 jobs for a growth rate of 2.7%, slightly below the state’s overall rate.

Home to 60% of all nonfarm jobs in the state, any slowdown in the Atlanta area is bound to affect statewide numbers.

Hinesville and Columbus areas lagging in jobs

While Georgia continues to experience faster job growth than the nation, not all metro areas in the state are participating in this boom to the same extent. Areas of the state not feeling the effects of the enlarging economy include Hinesville and Columbus.

The Hinesville area recorded a loss of 300 jobs for the first six months of 2016 and has shown no net increase in new jobs since June 2015. The area’s job market continues to stagnate with no net increase in jobs over the past eight years.

The Columbus metro area lost 400 jobs since December partially offsetting a gain of 900 jobs from July through December for a net addition of only 500 jobs since last June. The Columbus area has seen very slow job growth since the recession, rising by only 4,600 net new jobs since June 2010, a net growth rate averaging less than 0.7% per year over the six year period.

Athens lost 100 jobs in the first six months of 2016, although a strong second half of 2015 propelled it to one of the strongest job gains among metro areas in the state for the 12 months ending in June, adding a net of 3,600 jobs for an increase of 4% since June 2015.


The Macon and Valdosta areas showed no net change in jobs since December but both areas showed good growth in the second half of 2015, resulting in 12-month job gains of 2.1% and 2.2% respectively.

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

2014
2015
South Carolina
2.2
2.1
North Carolina
1.9
3.0
Utah
3.7
3.9
Georgia
4.3
4.0
Texas
4.8
4.5

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.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Georgia celebrates a strong 2015 job market, with the Atlanta metro area remaining the key to the state's future


Georgia ended 2015 with the 3rd fastest growing job market among the largest 11 states in the nation, those with a job market of 4 million or more nonfarm jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Georgia posted a 2.2 percent rise in calendar year 2015 following only California and Florida, which each posted increases of 2.9 percent.

While Georgia added only 3,300 jobs in December, it averaged nearly 7,600 new jobs each month over the past year for a total of 91,100 net new jobs.  In contrast, California added the most new positions among the 50 states in 2015 at 459,400, followed by Florida, which added 233,100 new jobs.

Of the 11 largest states, only Illinois showed a decrease with a net loss of 3,000 jobs over the year.

Together, the 11 largest states accounted for more than 55 percent of the nation’s new jobs (1,459,900 compared to 2,650,000 nonfarm jobs nationally) with a combined job creation rate of 1.9 percent, equal to the nation’s rate.

5-year recovery from recession

Georgia nonfarm jobs, 2000 - 2015, seasonally adjusted
Despite a slow rebound from the 2007-2009 recession, Georgia has rapidly added jobs over the past three years resulting in a five-year growth spurt of 441,800 jobs. This has resulted in an 11.4 percent rise in its nonfarm employment and places it 4th among the fastest growing large states in the nation.

Other large states with significant five-year growth rates include California (14.2 percent), Texas (14.1 percent), and Florida (13.9 percent).

Large states have been significantly outperforming states with smaller populations since the end of the recession. Since the end of 2010, the 11 largest states have captured 60 percent of the net new nonfarm jobs in the nation.

Atlanta remains a key component of Georgia’s job engine

In 2015, the Atlanta metro area added 77,000 of the state’s 91,100 net new jobs, accounting for 84.5 percent of the state’s growth even as the area is home to approximately 60 percent of the state’s total nonfarm jobs.

Since the end of 2010, the Atlanta metro area has seen the addition of 338,200 jobs, which represents more than 75 percent of all the new jobs in the state.

A good example of the importance of the metro area to the state is in December’s numbers, where the Atlanta metro area’s 200 job decline resulted in a slowdown in the state’s job growth to only 3,300 net new jobs. Without a robust Atlanta economy, the rest of the state cannot maintain job growth by itself.

The drop-off in the Atlanta job market last month was the first time the area had noted a job decrease in a December since 2009.

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.

Solutions

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.