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

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Georgia job market shows strength in first quarter of 2016 – 12-month ranking best among large states

Georgia’s labor market finished the first three months of 2016 in a stronger position than in 2015, and in line with other large states.

Since the beginning of the year, the state has added 29,000 net new nonfarm jobs, compared to an increase of 17,700 new jobs for the first quarter of 2015.

Georgia Nonfarm Employment, Jan. 2015 to March 2016, Seasonally Adjusted
Industries showing strong growth in the first quarter include retail (+6,800), construction (+6,200), and professional and business services (+5,000). Weaker industries included transportation and utilities and information, each of which saw a loss of 400 jobs over the three months. State government added 1,500 jobs in the first quarter, while local governments filled an additional 3,500 positions.

Industry
Net new jobs created in the
first 3 months of 2016 (January – March)
Total nonfarm employment
29,000
   Construction
6,200
   Manufacturing
200
   Wholesale trade
1,600
   Retail trade
6,800
   Transportation and utilities
-400
   Information
-400
   Financial activities
2,000
   Professional and business services
5,000
   Education and health care
1,200
   Leisure and hospitality
3,100
   Federal government
0
   State government
1,500
   Local government
3,500

Compared to other large states (those with labor markets of 4 million or more nonfarm workers), Georgia’s 0.7 percent job growth in the first quarter ranked just below Michigan and North Carolina, each of which recorded growth rates of 0.8 percent according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Over the year, Georgia’s 3.1 percent job growth rate (resulting in 130,000 new jobs), ranked it first among the nation’s 11 largest states, followed by Florida at 2.9 percent and California at 2.6 percent.

Among all 50 states, Idaho marked the highest 12-month job growth rate at 3.6 percent, followed by Oregon and Utah (3.3 percent each). Tennessee and Washington both recorded job growth rates at 3.2 percent. Arizona tied Georgia’s rate a 3.1 percent.

Nationally, the U.S. has added 2.8 million jobs since March 2015 for a growth rate of 2.0 percent.

State Unemployment

Paradoxically, while employment grew, Georgia’s unemployment rate in March was 5.5 percent, the same rate as in December 2015. The unchanging rate reflected a net increase of 4,984 more people counted as unemployed.


To be counted as unemployed under BLS rules, you must not have a job and be actively seeking work. It is possible that the people newly added to the unemployment count may be coming back into the labor force, encouraged by the possibility of new jobs. For that reason, the unchanging rate is not seen as a negative, but could be a positive development for the economy as more people renew hope of getting a job and begin their active job search after a period of inactivity. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Work-related deaths and injuries on the rise in Georgia: A silent epidemic

Despite a 26 percent increase in one year, there has been practically no focus on the rising number of workers in Georgia who are dying and being injured at work.

In 2014, 148 workers died during job-related activities in the state, an increase of 31 over the year, according to preliminary reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationally, the number of deaths rose by 94, an increase of 2 percent.


Violence on the job was a key factor in the rise in Georgia, with the number of work-related deaths due to intentional injury more than doubling over the year from 15 to 32. The number of work-related suicides rose from 6 to 14.

The sharp rise in violence contrasts with a very low increase in the number of roadway incidents that resulted in deaths, which have been the main cause of work-related fatalities in past years. In 2014, road deaths accounted for 36 fatalities, up by only 3 over 2013.

Other leading causes of work-related deaths in 2014 included falls (26 deaths), being struck by object or equipment (15 deaths), and nonroadway incidents involving motorized equipment (11 deaths).

Of the 148 total fatalities, 134 workers were employed in private industry while 14 deaths occurred to workers employed by governments in the state. This compares to the 117 deaths recorded in 2013, of which 108 were in private industry and 9 were in government.

For 2014, the increase in fatalities occurred among men, as the number of men dying on the job increased from 103 in 2013 to 136 in 2014. Deaths among female workers actually declined over the year from 14 to 12.

Nonfatal injuries and illnesses

Georgia workers suffered nonfatal injuries and illnesses at a rate of 2.9 per 100 equivalent full-time workers in 2014. While this remains below the national average of 3.2, it is an increase over 2013 when the state recorded a rate of 2.8.

In contrast, the U.S. recorded a decrease in the rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses, dropping from 3.3 per 100 equivalent full-time workers in 2013 to 3.2 in 2014.

Why the increase and why is it being ignored?

While Georgia focuses on job growth, the growing number of injuries and deaths goes unreported in the media and the state chooses not to highlight this growing epidemic.

In part this may be due to the state’s decision several years ago to move the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from the Georgia Department of Labor to the state’s Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. This office may not recognize the importance of the data or may choose to play down numbers, which they may feel reflect badly on the state's reputation.

While individual deaths are sometimes, but not always, reported in the media, it is hard for the casual reader or viewer to see the aggregated result or understand the trend. Nonfatal injuries and illnesses are much less likely to receive media attention, so they often remain "under the radar."

A harder question to answer is why are more people in Georgia getting injured and dying on the job?

Some of the increase in fatal and nonfatal injuries can be attributed to more workers returning to work after the recession. It is expected that with more people on the job, there are more possibilities for work-related injuries. Yet, Georgia’s job growth is only equal to the national average, while the number of fatal and nonfatal injuries and illnesses is growing faster than the U.S.

Even as the numbers grow, Georgia’s nonfatal injuries and illness rate is staying below the national average. Some of this lower rate reflects the state’s mix of industries, as the state moves towards an increasingly white-collar economy. Office jobs tend to have fewer serious injuries then those in traditional manufacturing, construction, and transportation industries.

More work needs to be done to determine why Georgia’s work-related deaths and injuries are increasing, but if the numbers are simply ignored, than there is no incentive to work to lower them.

For workers and their families, each person who goes to work each day expects to come home alive and uninjured. For more Georgia families, that appears to be a false expectation.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Atlanta grows, while Georgia slows

Fast growth in the Atlanta metro area contrasts with slower growth in the rest of the state
Metro Atlanta’s job market remained strong in July as the area added 13,200 new jobs over the month.

For the 12 months ending in July, the area’s employment has increased by 75,800, placing it 4th in job growth among the nation’s largest population centers after the Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas areas, according to new seasonally adjusted data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By population, the Atlanta region ranks 9th.

While the Atlanta region’s growth remained robust, conditions in the rest of Georgia slowed. Outside the Atlanta metro area, the state recorded its 5th consecutive month of job losses, dropping 8,600 jobs in July.

From March through July, the Atlanta region has seen the addition of 26,700 new jobs, while the rest of the state has recorded a loss of 20,600 jobs.

Due to this divergence, the Atlanta region has grown by 3.0% over the past 12 months, while the state has recorded a 2.1% growth rate.

With the recent slowdown, the state’s annual job growth dropped from 6th place in June to 8th place in July among the 50 states. For the 12 months ending in July, the state added 89,400 nonfarm jobs. This contrasts with the 130,700 jobs it added in the 12 months ending in July 2014.

Other Georgia Metro Areas

There continues to be pockets of strength outside of the 29-county Atlanta metro area with Savannah adding 4,000 jobs over the past 12 months for a 2.4% growth rate.

The Dalton area continued its recovery from the recession with a 2.6% annual growth rate, while Brunswick recorded an annual increase of 2.4%. Despite the recent rebound in their economies, employment in both Dalton and Brunswick remain below their pre-2007 levels.

Among metro areas in the state, Valdosta recorded the largest 12-month decline in July, shedding 1,200 jobs for a loss of 2.2% since July 2014.

The Atlanta metro area is defined as including Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Jasper, Lamar, Meriwether, Morgan, Newton, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Rockdale, Spalding, and Walton counties.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Too good to be true? Georgia’s unemployment rate of 6.0 % in July

Rate is likely more than half a percentage point higher than reported.

Georgia’s unemployment rate fell to 6.0 % in July, the lowest since May 2008, according to seasonally adjusted data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unfortunately, the drop reflects people leaving the labor force in June and July rather than increase in employment.

Looking at the not seasonally adjusted data, last year Georgia’s labor force grew by 34,057 in June and July. This year, the state’s labor force actually dropped by 5,159 over the same two months. Given the state’s natural population growth rate, this seems unlikely to be due to demographic factors.

The formula used for seasonal adjustment expects a larger labor force in the summer from high school and college graduates as well young workers who are out of school for the summer. When that does not occur, it can throw off the unemployment rate.

With the non-seasonally adjusted data taking an unexpected dive, the formula resulted in a seasonally adjusted drop of nearly 30,000 people. It is as if everyone that had joined the labor force from Jan. 1 to July suddenly dropped out.

If the 30,000 people in June and July had not dropped out of the labor force but been added to the unemployed list instead, the seasonally adjusted rate would have stood at 6.6 % in July.

Why the decline in the labor force?

Explanations for the change in labor force between summers of 2014 and 205 include (1) people are leaving the state in record numbers [highly unlikely], (2) it is a statistical fluke that will be reversed in future months [somewhat likely], or (3) people not working this summer did not search for work [somewhat likely].

It is possible that over the summer, an abnormally large number of older individuals chose to retire [also highly unlikely].

More likely, younger workers who normally find summer jobs either were unable to work in the summer months or chose not to work.

There is anecdotal information that the lower labor force was due to a combination of younger workers taking additional education over the summer months rather than searching for work, as well as a lack of summer jobs this year. If younger workers knew that summer employment programs were unable to meet demand, they may have decided to not even try to find jobs.

By dropping out of the labor force rather than looking for work, the labor force shrinks, the number of officially unemployed persons falls, and the unemployment rate looks artificially low.

Looking ahead

The seasonal adjustment formula expects fewer workers in the labor force, as students return to school in August and September. This should cause the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to rise in August and September. (Georgia schools begin classes relatively early in August, so some of the effect should show in August numbers.)

We shall look forward to see if the state’s unemployment rate turns higher in August and September that will either validate or invalidate our theory.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

U.S. job creation catches up with Georgia in July

12-month job growth falls below 100,000 for first time in 17 months

Georgia saw the creation of 6,400 net new jobs in July 2015, according to preliminary seasonally adjusted data released today by the Georgia Department of Labor.

The new information also included a revision that wiped out all the jobs reported in the prior month. 

In June, the labor department announced that 2,300 jobs were added. With the revision, it is now reporting that the state actually lost 4,100 jobs in June.

Among industries in the state in July, retailing (+2,800), professional and business services (+3,100), and local government (+4,300) were significant contributors to the state’s job growth.


Losses occurred mainly in private educational services (-2,100) and state government (-2,400).

Annual job creation slows

For the 12 months ending in July, the state saw 89,400 jobs created, an increase of 2.1 %.

As a result of slower employment growth, 12-month job growth fell below 100,000 for the first time in 17 months. July marked the first time since the beginning of 2013 that state job growth did not exceed the national average.

In some states, like North Dakota, their jobs slowdown can be partially attributed to falling oil prices that have resulted in layoffs in oil and gas production. Since Georgia has little oil and gas, its employment is unaffected by reductions in oil and gas production, and the state’s economy should be benefiting from lower energy costs. Instead, it is recording a marked slowdown.
Metro Areas are key

The Atlanta metro area created 13,200 jobs in July, and the Savannah area saw another 2,000 jobs added. Other metro areas with positive job growth included Albany (+400), Athens (+100), Brunswick (+100), Columbus (+600), Dalton (+200), and Rome (+100).

Metro areas reporting seasonally adjusted declines in July included Augusta (-500), Gainesville (-1,000), Hinesville (-300), Macon (-1,000), and Valdosta (-700).

While the Atlanta metro area is home to approximately 61 % of jobs in Georgia, it has been responsible for almost 85 % of the state’s job growth over the past 12 months.

Unemployment rate

The state’s unemployment rate stood at 6.0 % in July compared to 7.3 % in July 2014 as the state’s labor force continues to shrink.

While many see a lower unemployment rate as a positive sign for the economy, when drops occur due to people leaving the labor market, it can be a negative indicator.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Where did Zippia go wrong?


Web site names Cochran, Dublin among worst places to find work in Georgia

Zippia lists themselves as career experts. They may be but they are not experts in labor statistics. In July, they published “These Are The 10 Worst Places In Georgia To Get A Job”.

Unsurprisingly, officials in some of those cities and towns were not pleased to see their localities appear on that list.

"Dublin is the regional hub for about 15 counties in Middle Georgia from a labor and employment standpoint. So if there's been a more successful community for job creation in this state, I'd like to know about it," according to Brad Lofton, development authority president in Dublin, as quoted by WMGT-TV.

On its website, Zippia says it used the following criteria to determine its list:

·       Unemployment rate
·       Recent job growth
·       Future job growth
·       Sales Tax
·       Median household income

So how did Zippia use statistics to come to its misleading conclusions?

Unemployment rate

Confusing employment with jobs is a common mistake. The unemployment rate is determined by an estimate based on households. By definition, it measures where people live, not where they work.

It is much better to measure relative job opportunities by looking at the number of jobs growing or declining in an area, not the number of people employed in that area.  

Cochran Mayor Michael Stoy makes a good point in the same story when he says, "We are looking at a large percentage of our population that goes up to Warner Robins."

When BLS or the Georgia Department of Labor counts a new job, that job is counted in the community where it is created. When a statistical agency counts the number of employed or unemployed, they are counted based on where the people live not where they work.

For example, my neighborhood, in a suburb of Atlanta, has only houses in it, so by definition, it would be regarded as a bad place to get a job since the neighborhood is residential with no businesses. Residents have jobs outside the neighborhood, so their jobs are counted where they go to work. If they commute to Atlanta, the job is counted as located in Atlanta, but they are counted as employed in my neighborhood. If a resident loses a job in Atlanta, they would be counted as unemployed where they live, in my neighborhood in this example, not in the City of Atlanta.

There is an undeserved negative connotation in listing a place as “worse to get a job” if the people in that area commute elsewhere for employment. Unless you believe that everyone should work out of their homes, using unemployment statistics to measure job growth is a poor choice.

Recent job growth

Recent job growth (or decline) should be the number one, and perhaps, only criteria to determine “worst places to get a job.” It is hard to know the data used by the site in determining job numbers because they are very general in their description.

For example, it says about Fitzgerald, Ga., “The city ranks as having the weakest recent job growth.” 

Hard to judge based on that general statement, which is more definitive than some of the statements for other cities and towns on the list. Here is where hard numbers and some definitions would help.

Future job growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics produces an occupational outlook for the United States, and the Georgia Department of Labor produces a similar report for Georgia. 

Beyond these two reports, job forecasting for small cities and towns is much more problematic.

It is true that smaller areas in Georgia have not seen the growth of the larger metro areas such as Atlanta, and that is worrying, but it is difficult, if not impossible to accurately forecast growth for a particular small area.

This is even truer for smaller areas, because an area with a small employment base can be radically affected by the opening or closure of one establishment. I also don’t know how much into the future they are attempting to forecast, but it is hard to make an accurate forecast of job growth in a small area beyond 6 months.

It is easier to forecast larger areas, such as states, than smaller areas like communities where small changes can have large impacts.

Sales tax

I have no idea how sales tax relates to getting a job, and I don’t know if they are speaking about the amount of sales tax or the growth rate of the tax. I am sure the site has some way of using these data, but it is not obvious.

Median household income

Poorer areas tend to have fewer services, and jobs in poor areas tend to pay less. That impacts the salaries for jobs, but not the number of jobs themselves. The “study” was to be about the worst places to find a job, not a study of the areas with the lowest paying jobs. 

The two criteria are not the same. Georgia is growing faster than many states with higher median household income. 

Hopefully, the web site does a better job of finding employment for people than giving advice.

Job losses in Georgia counties

Below are two tables that may be more useful than the information provided by Zippia. 

The first shows the largest net job losses for Georgia counties in 2014. The second shows the largest percentage job losses in Georgia counties in 2014. There is some overlap, but many of the counties on each list are different, as you might expect. Both tables are looking back on 2014, not forecasting the future.

As a comparison using the same source, Georgia, as a state, added 147,335 job in 2014 for a growth rate of 3.7%.

Table A. Net job losses in calendar year 2014

Baldwin -708
Colquitt -453
Telfair -338
Dawson -255
Upson -253
Thomas -242
Marion -200
Stephens -199
Dodge -165
Elbert -151

Table B. Percentage job losses in calendar year 2014

Marion -12.8%
Talbot -10.2%
Telfair -9.0%
Wheeler -8.9%
Heard -6.4%
Clay -4.8%
Twiggs -4.5%
Baldwin -4.5%
Glascock -4.3%
Webster -4.0%

Data obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.








Thursday, July 23, 2015

Atlanta metro claims 4th place in new jobs



Employers in the Atlanta metro area created 71,800 new jobs for the 12 months ending in June, the fourth best performance of large metro areas nationwide, according to preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The new jobs represent a 2.9 percent rise in employment over the year, compared to a 2.1 percent increase nationally.

Table. A. Net change in employment, June 2014 – June 2015, seasonally adjusted
Metro Area
12-month net 
employment gain
12-month percentage 
employment gain
New York
148,000
1.6 %
Los Angeles
140,800
2.5 %
Dallas
111,800
3.4 %
Atlanta
71,800
2.9 %
Miami
71,400
2.9 %

For the month, the Atlanta area lost 3,000 jobs contrasting with the rest of the state that recorded a pick-up of 5,300 jobs for a net gain of 2,300 jobs statewide in June.

For the three months prior to June, the Atlanta area had averaged an increase of 4,900 jobs each month. In June last year, the metro area reported a one-month increase of 8,600 jobs.

Atlanta Metro Area, Nonfarm Jobs, 2014 - June 2015

In June, metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate stood at 6.0 percent, while the state recorded a rate of 6.1 percent, and the nation showed a rate of 5.3 percent. The Atlanta area rate stood at 7.3 percent in June 2014.

Georgia Metro Areas

Georgia’s metro areas showed mixed results in June and over the year. For the month, excluding the Atlanta area, five areas showed gains, while four areas showed declines, and two were unchanged.
Over the 12 months ending in June, Albany and Valdosta were the only two metro areas in the state recording losses in employment.

Seasonally adjusted data were not available for the Warner Robins area.

Table B. Georgia metropolitan statistical areas, net change in total nonfarm employment, seasonally adjusted
Metro Area
1-month net change,
June 2015
12-month net change,
June 2014 – June 2015
Albany
-600
-700
Athens
400
1,800
Atlanta
-3,000
71,800
Augusta
-1,800
4,100
Brunswick
-400
1,100
Columbus
0
1,700
Dalton
100
2,400
Gainesville
500
3,200
Hinesville
300
800
Macon
600
1,100
Rome
0
500
Savannah
-800
3,400
Valdosta
0
-200
Warner Robins
N/A
N/A


Data are preliminary. Numbers provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Georgia Department of Labor.