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

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.

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.







Friday, August 28, 2015

GSU Economist sees improved job growth for Georgia and Atlanta area

In his “Forecast of Georgia and Atlanta,” released Aug. 27, Rajeev Dhawan of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business believes that the state’s decelerating job growth will reverse in the second half of 2015.

“As global economic health stabilizes, consumers demonstrate a greater propensity to spend and corporate spending resumes, Peach State job growth will accelerate to 2.6 percent for the 2015 calendar year,” Dhawan said.

The corporate sector is faring well in Georgia and Atlanta. Statewide, the sector posted a 7.2 percent gain in the second quarter, “pointing to momentum moving forward,” the forecaster said. Furthermore, the move of several headquarters to Atlanta continues to result in professional and business services hiring.

“Although this sector is enduring weaker global growth, domestic consumption is taking up any shortfalls,” Dhawan said.

The forecaster is predicting that Georgia employment will gain
·       82,900 jobs in calendar year 2015
·       87,500 jobs in 2016
·       94,100 jobs in 2017

This would mean slower growth than in the past two years. As a comparison using seasonally adjusted data, in 2013, the state added 95,500 jobs and in 2014 increased by an additional 146,500 jobs. 

Over the 12 months ending in July, the state has added 89,400 jobs (seasonally adjusted) as rapid growth in the first 6 months was followed by a marked slowdown in the most recent 6-month period.

For the Atlanta metro area, Dr. Dhawan see the addition of
·       62,400 jobs in calendar year 2015
·       63,300 jobs in 2016
·       65,500 jobs in 2017

In 2013, the Atlanta metro area added 77,600 jobs and in 2014 added 97,200 jobs.

Dhawan said millennials, who constituted 23.6 percent of metro Atlanta’s population in the 2010 census, are making their influence felt in several regards.


“To no one’s surprise,” he said, “millennials are fueling demand for multi-family housing. They’re also spurring area companies to relocate to downtown and Midtown in order to draw on their high-tech skills.”

“I expect the area’s information sector to continue to expand in coming years as it benefits from a robust fiber optic infrastructure, relatively low-cost electricity generation and a reliable power grid,” Dhawan said.

Attracting young, technologically savvy talent is one of the reasons that healthcare added almost 3,500 jobs in the first half of 2015. For the full year, this sector will add 8,100 jobs.

Although growth in the metro area’s hospitality and transportation sectors slowed somewhat in the first half of the year, both will benefit from the spillover of domestic demand growth in catalyst sectors (corporate, healthcare, technology and manufacturing) for a combined total of 12,800 jobs in 2015.