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

Friday, January 24, 2020

Atlanta area accounts for all of Georgia’s net job growth in the 4th quarter of 2019

Georgia job growth, 2006-2019

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

As job growth in Georgia continues to slow, all of the state’s job growth was concentrated in the Atlanta metro area, while the rest of the state actually recorded a net job loss in the final quarter of 2019.

Preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Georgia added 17,700 new jobs in the 4th quarter of 2019 with the Atlanta metro area growing by 22,600 jobs while the rest of the state lost 4,900 jobs between October and December.

For the year, Georgia added 66,700 job. In contrast, the state added 92,500 jobs in 2018 and 69,400 jobs in 2017.

The state recorded a growth rate of 1.5%, its slowest calendar year rate of increase since 2011.
The state did set a series low unemployment rate of 3.2% in 2019 as the number of unemployed workers in the state dropped by 14,742 in the 4th quarter.

Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 29,176 while the state’s labor force grew by 17,653. The combination of slower growth in the state’s labor force with fewer people seeking work contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate.

Georgia labor force, 2014-2019

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Atlanta was key to job growth


Atlanta metro area job growth, 2006-2019

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


The metro Atlanta region added 65,700 jobs in 2019, an increase of 2.3%, its best calendar year increase since 2016.

Excluding the Atlanta metro area, the rest of the state added only 1,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
The small net increase for all counties excluding the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area was the worst showing since 2011.

Other metro areas in Georgia


While many of the metro areas showed some employment gains in 2019, the number of jobs added were below those added in 2018.

Albany recorded a 500 job decline in the 4th quarter of 2019 and a loss of 100 jobs for calendar year 2019.

Athens posted a 1,100 job gain for the quarter and a 1,400 net job gain for the calendar year.

Augusta recorded a 100 job gain for the quarter and added 2,800 jobs for the year.

Brunswick showed zero net job growth over the quarter and a 700 job gain for the year.

Columbus lost 600 jobs over the quarter and was down by 1,400 jobs for the year.

Dalton added 200 jobs over the quarter with a net gain of 300 jobs over the year.

Gainesville showed an increased of 700 jobs for the quarter with a net addition of 3,500 jobs for the year.

Hinesville lost 100 jobs in the quarter but posted a 400 job gain for the year.

Macon added 100 jobs in the quarter with the result of a 700 job gain over the year.

Rome gained 300 jobs over the quarter and posted a 1,100 job gain for the year.

Savannah added 1,400 jobs in the quarter and ended the year with a net gain of 2,100 jobs.

Valdosta gained 300 jobs over the quarter and ended the year with a net gain of 700 jobs.

Warner Robins added 100 jobs in the quarter and gained 1,300 jobs over the year.

Statewide jobs numbers and unemployment are a combination of metropolitan and rural parts of Georgia and includes information for 159 counties. Net gains for the metropolitan areas in the state cannot be measured by simply totaling the changes for each area. Some metropolitan statistical areas stretch over two states, so some metro job numbers include jobs gained or lost outside of Georgia. For example, the Columbus area includes parts of Alabama.

When BLS compiles the state data for Georgia, the agency excludes counties located in other states in their statewide data but includes them when measuring metro area job numbers and unemployment rates. As it happens, the Atlanta metro area includes only counties in Georgia, so by subtracting the Atlanta metro numbers from the statewide figures, it is possible to compare the Atlanta metro region to the rest of the state.

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.


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, 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.