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

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Job losses in 2020 concentrated in larger metro areas in Georgia

 

Map source: By DoubleZ OTP - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89173265


In 2020, Georgia recorded a net job loss of 77,700 jobs, before seasonal adjustment, which represented a 1.7 percent decline over the year. The net loss of jobs was the first recorded for the state since 2009.

Job losses were not evenly distributed across the state. The effect of the coronavirus on job growth and losses in 2020 becomes obvious when comparing statewide job losses to those in the metro areas of the state.

The Atlanta metro area, which constitutes the state’s largest labor market, accounted for more than 90 percent of the state’s net losses in 2020 resulting in a decline of 2.5 percent (-72,500 jobs). For more than a decade, the story in Georgia has been the persistent job gains occurring in large metro areas compared to more rural parts of the state. Before 2020, the last year where the Atlanta metro area put in a worse annual jobs performance than the state was in 2009.

The state’s second largest metro area, Augusta, experienced an even larger decline as its jobs market saw a 4.1 percent drop over the year resulting in 9,900 fewer jobs than in December 2019.

The Macon and Savannah areas suffered losses but the percentage declines in their labor markets were smaller than the state as a whole. The Savannah area saw a net job loss of 1,200, which translated to 0.6 percent drop. The Macon area recorded a loss of 1,600 jobs, which represented a 1.5 percent drop in its job market.

Three of the state’s smaller metro areas posted net job gains over the year. They included Valdosta (1,900), Rome (400), and Hinesville (200).

An exception to the larger employment drops being concentrated in the larger job markets was Brunswick. The southeastern Georgia coastal area recorded the worse performing job market among metro areas in the state in 2020. The Brunswick metro area saw jobs drop by 5,200 or 11.6 percent.

The Brunswick area saw large percentage employment declines in its goods-producing sector (-7.3%), private service-providing sector (-14.6 percent), state government (-5.6 percent), as well as local government (-5.8 percent).

Information for this report was provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. www.bls.gov.


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.

 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Georgia Labor Day 2020 by the Numbers

Georgia Private Sector Nonfarm Jobs, January 2019 - July 2020

Statewide employment 

Number of private sector nonfarm jobs in Georgia in July 2020: 3,734.000 

Number of private sector nonfarm jobs in Georgia in July 2019: 3,922,300 

Change from a year ago: - 188,300

 

Number of public sector jobs in Georgia in July 2020: 657,700 

Number of public sector jobs in Georgia in July 2019: 664,600 

Change from a year ago: - 6,900 


Statewide unemployment 

Initial claims 

Number of people filing for Georgia unemployment insurance benefits in the week ending August 22, 2020: 56,758 

Number of initial claims for the same week in 2019: 4,440 

Change from a year ago: + 52,318 


Insured unemployment 

Number of people receiving Georgia unemployment benefits in the week ending August 15, 2020: 553,713 

Number of people receiving benefits for the same week in 2019: 25,549 

Change from a year ago: + 528,164

 

Statewide costs for unemployment insurance benefits 

Amount of regular Georgia UI benefits paid in the past 24 weeks: + $3 billion 

Amount paid in the previous 7 years combined: $2.852 billion

 

Georgia metro areas private sector nonfarm jobs

(As of July 2020 / Change from July 2019)

Albany: 48,200 / - 2,400 

Athens-Clarke County: 67,100 / - 1,500 

Atlanta metro area (Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell): 2,381.800 / - 134,800 

Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC: 182,800 / - 13,500 

Brunswick: 30,200 / -6,400 

Columbus, GA-AL: 93,000 / - 5,300 

Dalton: 55,600 / - 3,800 

Gainesville: 79,800 / - 3,000 

Hinesville: 13,400 / + 200 

Macon-Bibb County: 83,600 / -5,100 

Rome: 35,900 / - 300 

Savannah: 152,200 / - 10,300 

Valdosta: 42,900 / - 400 

Warner Robins: 44,600 / - 5,100

 

Inflation in the Atlanta metro area (Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell)

(Percentage change in retail prices for the 12 months ending in June 2020)

All Items: + 0.9% 

Food: + 4.3% 

Housing: + 2.3% 

Electricity: - 14.3%               

New vehicle: + 2.4% 

Used cars and trucks: - 1.9%

 Gasoline: - 25.4%

 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Metro Atlanta’s job growth drives Georgia’s growth

After two months of small declines, Georgia’s employers rebounded sharply in June, adding 27,400 jobs over the month according to newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was the largest one-month jump in hiring in over six years.

The new jobs added in June pushed the total number of jobs added over the past year to 122,600, well above the 111,200 jobs added for the same period in 2016.

The state’s unemployment rate relatively unchanged at 4.8% in June compared to May. In June 2016, the state’s unemployment rate stood at 5.3%.

Over the past year, Georgia’s labor force grew by 134,941 persons as the number of people employed in Georgia rose by 153,335 while the number counted as unemployed dropped by 18,394.

Metro Atlanta

The metro Atlanta area added 23,900 in June and accounted for 87% of the state’s new jobs. Over the past year, metro area employers have added 93,700 jobs.  

Increasingly, the metro Atlanta area drives the state’s job market.

At the beginning of 2007, metro Atlanta accounted for 58.9% of the state’s employment. With the new counts for June, that percentage has risen to 61.3%.

Signs of Wage Inflation

With Georgia’s job growth coming in at 2.8% over the year compared to the nation’s 1.6% growth rate, pressures are rising on employers to raise compensation to retain and attract workers.

Earlier in the week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report detailing weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers for the second quarter of 2017.

The median weekly earnings of the nation's 113.4 million full-time wage and salary workers
were $859 in the second quarter of 2017 (not seasonally adjusted).

This was 4.2 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.9 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.

While BLS does not release similar data for individual states, Georgia (and especially the Atlanta metro area) is not immune to the wage pressures being seen elsewhere in the nation.

All data in this report are seasonally adjusted unless noted otherwise.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Does Georgia’s slower job growth in August mean less employment in December?

Employment tends to follow seasonal variations. These variations are well known and re-occur annually allowing the Bureau of Labor Statistics to adjust their job numbers by making seasonal adjustments.

Take out those seasonal adjustments and you can see that Georgia’s job growth in August was the slowest in six years.

While Georgia added 20,300 nonfarm jobs over the month, this number falls way below the 33,300 jobs added in August 2015. Not since 2010, when the state recorded a rise of 16,000 jobs, has Georgia experienced such a slow August in job creation.

Job growth in Georgia during August, 2006-2016
Despite the state’s unemployment rate dropping to a seasonally adjusted 4.9 percent rate, the employment picture was not as positive as expected.

State’s 12-month job increases declining

While Georgia continues to outpace the nation in job growth, that trend is slowing, which becomes a worrying sign of a potential slowdown in the state.

For the 12 months ending in April, Georgia saw 137,700 net new jobs created in the state. Since then, the 12-month increases have fallen each month, and in August, the 12-month increase was only 107,500 new jobs.

Number of jobs created in Georgia over the previous 12 months, January - August, 2016
It could be that employers are having a rougher time finding skilled workers without wanting to raise wage rates, or companies may be more cautious in their hiring; but for whatever reason, Georgia continues to create new jobs but fewer of them.

Trend not the same for the nation

The drop-off in new jobs did not extend to the nation. The U.S. added 224,000 new jobs (before seasonal adjustment) in August, 25,000 more than recorded for the same month in 2015, although this was fewer than in the month of August for the years 2011 to 2014.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the nation recorded a job growth increase of 1.7 percent (before seasonal adjustment), less than the 2.0 percent growth rate recorded in 2015 or the 1.9 percent rate in 2014, but equal to the growth rates recorded in August 2012 and 2013.

The drop-off in Georgia does not appear to be part of a significant national trend, at least not yet.

Problem is Georgia’s job market outside Atlanta

A key component for Georgia is the Atlanta metro area, which is home to more than 60 percent of the state’s nonfarm employment.

In August, the Atlanta metro area grew by 14,500 jobs, fewer than for the same month in 2015, but representing about 71 percent of the state’s new jobs, way above their normal percentage.

That says that the slowdown is being felt more widely in the rest of the state than in the Atlanta metro area, which is why the slowdown may not be as visible in metro Atlanta.

Slow metro growth continues in Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Hinesville, and Warner Robins.
In these areas, new job creation is slower than both statewide and the nation, most likely for a variety of reasons including the desire of high-tech and service industries to locate in the Atlanta metro area where the larger percentage of a higher-educated workforce is available, as well as other amenities such as public transportation and cultural opportunities.

Savannah remains a bright spot with 12-month growth at 4 percent, as its combination of port-related activities, professional and business services, and tourism makes it a regional hub.

What does this have to do with December?

Although we tend to connect job growth with a burst each year around the Christmas season as retailers add seasonal hires in November, August is actually a bigger month for hires than November or December in Georgia.

With the exception of 2009, the August job growth number in Georgia has been larger than the comparable number for November or December in that same year since the beginning of the century.

If that trend holds for this year, Georgia’s relatively small 20,300 August job growth will mean a relatively smaller job market in November and December.

While some retailers and fast-food operators might be worried about seasonal hires this year, overall, the job market may not be as tight as anticipated, although wages above the $7.25 mark may still be necessary to entice workers given the ongoing Fight-for-$15 movement.

Workers may find low-paying seasonal jobs in November and December in the $9-$10 range, but better-paying career positions might be harder to find in Georgia, and especially outside the Atlanta metro area, if these trends persist.

For job seekers, the message is to find that new position now and not hope that a tighter job market might raise wages later in the year.

For state policymakers, they should not be complacent about job creation outside the Atlanta metro area. In many smaller metro areas of the state, and for rural areas, the future does not look as bright.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Union Summer targets Atlanta in 2016

The AFL-CIO is now recruiting college interns and a site coordinator to work in teams to support union organizing campaigns and other initiatives in Atlanta during June, July, and August 2016.


According to the AFL-CIO, tasks include:

“…having one-on-one conversations with workers in the process of organizing a union in their workplaces, organizing direct actions such as marches and rallies, talking with workers impacted by the jobs crisis, as well as assisting in building community, labor and religious support for union organizing efforts.”

While Union Summer is an annual event, the cities targeted vary each year. In 2016, targets will include:

·       Jackson, MS
·       Atlanta, GA
·       Anniston, AL
·       Houston, TX

Interns participating in this year’s activities are not considered employees but do receive a stipend of $480 per week. The site coordinator will be paid $3,200 per month.

Interns should possess the following characteristics to be successful:

·       Flexible and willing to work long hours and nights and weekends on an unpredictable schedule (depending on needs of the campaign);
·       Adaptable in the face of new challenges and experiences;
·       Able to work in teams and have excellent communication skills;
·       Open to working with people of different races, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations; and
·       Willing to immerse themselves in an intensive, learning-by-doing experience.

The AFL-CIO has not identified which industries or companies in Atlanta would be targeted but past efforts have focused on fast food and health care establishments.

More information on planned activities is available on the Union Summer website.

The AFL-CIO has also uploaded a video on YouTube discussing their 2015 Union Summer.





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, 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.

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.







Monday, November 23, 2015

Georgia posts very strong October employment numbers

Georgia reported 29,000 new nonfarm jobs in October 2015, its strongest one-month showing since February 2011, according to new seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The one-month increase was the fourth largest among all states trailing only California (41,200), Florida (35,200), and Ohio (30,800).

“We saw the state gain 29,000 jobs, which by the way, is much higher than we have been averaging,” according to Georgia State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “We have been averaging around 16,000 jobs during that same time period.”

The state’s overall strength in October was due to hiring in several sectors including Professional and Business Services (6,400), Retail (5,100), and Government (4,500).
The new employment compares favorably with an increase of 20,500 jobs posted for October 2014, and contrasts with the weak showing earlier in the spring and summer. BLS also revised its data for September, adding 4,400 more jobs to the preliminary report for Georgia, which boosted the state’s September net increase to 13,500.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 5.7 percent in October, a drop of 1.1 percentage points from October 2014. The good news of a declining unemployment rate was tempered by the fact that the drop was partially attributable to a decline of 6,076 people in the labor force compared to the same time last year.

Over the past 12 months, the state’s nonfarm employment has grown by 97,100 jobs, which translated to a 2.3 percent annual increase and outpaced the nation’s 2.0 percent increase. The latest jobs picture fell below the numbers posted in October 2014 when the state’s then 12-month increase of 143,900 jobs translated to a 3.5 percent growth rate.

Over the most recent 12-month period, increases were notable in Professional and Business Services (20,500), Leisure and Hospitality (17,200), Education and Health Services (16,100), and Retail (15,600).

The Atlanta area continues to be the state’s job engine, contributing two-thirds of the state’s net new jobs, adding 19,300 jobs over the month. Since October 2014, the metro area has increased by 87,800 jobs, representing 90 percent of the state’s job growth. This translates to a 12-month increase of 3.5 percent.

In 2014, the strong growth in October was followed by increases at only half that rate in November and December. It remains to be seen if the pattern in 2015 will see a repeat with the most significant hiring occurring earlier in the holiday season (October) followed by smaller boosts to job growth in the last two months of the year.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Atlanta ranks 2nd in percentage job growth among largest metro areas in September

The Atlanta metro area added 71,500 net new jobs over the past 12 months, according to newly released seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The area’s job growth translated into an annual increase of 2.8 percent, falling second only to Dallas among the largest metro areas in the nation. The Dallas area reported a 3.2 percent annual growth rate.

The growth translated into more new jobs added over the year for all but three other metro areas in the U.S. in September. Other metro areas with large over-the-year job increases included Los Angeles (+133,300), Dallas (+107,000), and New York (+104,500). The District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia metro area came in below Atlanta, posting annual job growth of 62,800.

Atlanta Metro Area

The Atlanta area’s 2.8 percent growth compares to Georgia’s overall 2.0 percent growth rate. For the 12 months ending in September, the nation as a whole saw job growth at 2.0 percent.

While the Atlanta area added only 2,700 new jobs in September, BLS revised the area’s job growth in August upwards from a preliminary report of 600 jobs to a revised addition of 4,100 jobs.

Over the three months ending in September, the Atlanta area added 22,800 new nonfarm jobs while the rest of the state lost 1,000 jobs resulting in a net state gain of 21,800 jobs.

As a comparison, for the same three months in 2014, the Atlanta area created 24,800 jobs while the state posted 37,200 new nonfarm jobs.

Other Metro Areas in Georgia

Outside Atlanta, the Augusta area posted the fastest growing job market over the past year, rising by 2.5 percent, an increase of 5,600 nonfarm jobs over the year. Savannah showed a 2.4 percent increase, adding 4,100 jobs since last September.

The Hinesville area posted the largest job loss among Georgia metro area, losing 2.0 percent (-400 jobs). Albany lost a total of 1.8 percent (-1,100) jobs, while Valdosta reported a loss of 1.6 percent (-900 jobs).


Friday, September 18, 2015

Lower unemployment rate hides slowdown in Atlanta job market

Georgia's 5.9% unemployment rate hides the slowdown in the Atlanta area, which saw only 600 new jobs in August. 

Labor force continues to decline

Georgia reported a 5.9% unemployment rate for August, higher than the nation’s average of 5.1%, but still below its rate of 7.1% recorded in August 2014.

The headline rate disguises the slowdown in Georgia’s economy, and specifically in the Atlanta area.

The lower unemployment rate is due to people not participating in the current labor force. Since last August, Georgia has lost 6,137 people from its labor force, while the U.S. has added over 1 million.

Other economic indicators tend to show that the state is gaining population and workers, not losing them, so it is logical to assume that the true number of people who could be included in the labor force is growing at least at the same rate as the nation if not faster.

If the state’s labor force was growing at the same rate as the nation, August’s unemployment rate for Georgia would be at 6.5%.

This rate is more consistent with the evidence showing in the nonfarm jobs report also issued this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nonfarm Employment grows modestly

Georgia recorded a modest 2,200 increase in August and reported 83,200 jobs over the year. The numbers translate into a 2.0% annual increase, slightly below the nation’s 2.1% job creation rate.
Over the past three months, Georgia has averaged 8,600 new jobs each month. As a comparison, the state recorded an average of 39,200 jobs for the comparable period in 2014.

The slowing rate caused Georgia to drop again in the state rankings of job creators. In June, the state was 6th best in the nation, in July it dropped to 8th place, and in August it now stands at 9th position.
In August, states adding more jobs than Georgia over the 12 months included (in order of number of jobs added): California, Florida, Texas, New York, North Carolina, Washington, Michigan, and Massachusetts.

Slowdown in Atlanta MSA offset by higher growth in rest of State


The slower growth rate for the state is directly attributable to the lower rate of job growth in the Atlanta area in August.

Last month, the Atlanta metro area added only 600 of the 2,200 new jobs recorded statewide. This is a remarkable turn for the Atlanta area, which had been the main driver of job growth over most of the previous 11 months.

For the three months ending in August, the Atlanta area lost 2,100 jobs compared to a loss of only 700 jobs for the same period in 2014.

Over the past 12 months, the Atlanta metro area has accounted for 69,800 of the 83,200 new jobs created in Georgia, or almost 84% of the state’s new jobs for an area that is home to almost 61% of the state’s employment.

In the Atlanta area, the noticeable slowdown in August was in the sector that is seen as Atlanta’s growth engine – Professional and Business Services. This sector includes engineering, accounting, and consulting firms; but it also includes employment agencies (temporary and permanent employment), which also showed slowing in August.

It is possible this is a one-month aberration due to a statistical or survey anomaly, but it will be worth watching over the next two months to see if the slowdown continues or will be wiped away by revisions in the data.