Showing posts with label georgia coronavirus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label georgia coronavirus. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Georgia leisure and hospitality; arts, entertainment and recreation; and personal services employment and wages affected by pandemic and response in the 2nd quarter of 2020

 By now there is no secret that temporary shutdowns and permanent closures related to the Coronavirus and efforts to combat it fell heavily on Georgia’s leisure and hospitality sector. Over the first six months of 2020, the sector saw a 20 percent drop in employment and a 36-percentage drop in employee total wages. This compares to an 8.5 percent decline in the state’s total workforce and a 12 percent drop in total wages.

The good news is that since the end of June, the leisure and hospitality sector in Georgia has rebounded partially, but it is still important to understand how different industries within the sector fared in the first half of 2020.

Not all businesses within retail trade, leisure and hospitality, or personal services had the same employment effects. Some businesses have actually boosted their employment and payrolls as business increased even as other businesses saw cutbacks and closures.

In terms of providing assistance to businesses during times of pandemic and afterwards, it is important to distinguish both between businesses that suffered and prospered but also to distinguish to what extent employees and payrolls were affected in different parts of each industrial sector.

Retailers - Employment

Retailers in Georgia that normally see employment losses in the first months after Christmas saw those employment and payroll losses continue into the second quarter of the year. Retail employment dropped 5 percent (-25,577 workers) between December and March, and then from April to June, retail trade employment lost another 3.3 percent (-16,098).

As a percentage of the labor force, the worse hit employment groups within the retail trade were clothing and clothing accessories stores, down 27.5 percent (-9,936 workers) in the second quarter of 2020; sports, hobby, music instrument, and book stores, down 16 percent (-2,269); and furniture and home furnishing stores that declined 14.8 percent (-2,691).

In contrast, some retailers saw significant growth in their workforces, including building material and garden supply stores, up 7.6 percent (3,187) and food and beverage stores, which includes grocery retailers, whose workforce rose by 7 percent (6,466).

General merchandise stores that carry a mix of groceries and other merchandise certainly picked part of the trade that might have otherwise gone to more specialized retailers, such as clothing stores, but as the numbers indicate, the general merchandise stores did not add sufficient employment to offset the employment losses by specialty retailers.

The same was true for the category of food and beverages stores, which includes grocery stores. Grocery stores added more than 6,400 people in the second quarter of the year, but this did not make up for the job losses among specialty retailers.

Retail industry groups by change in employment in Georgia from March to June 2020

·         Clothing and clothing accessories stores -27.47% (-9,936 employees)

·         Sports, hobby, music instrument, and book stores -16.04% (-2,269)

·         Furniture and home furnishings stores -14.78% (-2,691)

·         Miscellaneous store retailers -12.9% (-2,790)

·         Motor vehicle and parts dealers -7.89% (-5,391)

·         Electronics and appliance stores -3.88% (-643)

·         Gasoline stations 0.39% (120)

·         General merchandise stores 0.65% (677)

·         Food and beverage stores 7.01% (6,466)

·         Building material and garden supply stores 7.59% (3,187)

Retailers – Wages

As with employment, the total wages paid by retailers in Georgia declined significantly between March and June 2020. With some retail groups paying higher average wages than others, for some retail groups the impact of employment declines showed up differently than the employment impact.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores reported the largest decline in their total wage bill, dropping by more than 37.6 percent in the second quarter, followed by electronics and appliance stores, which posted declines of 22.8 percent.

In contrast, food and beverage stores saw their total wage bill increase by 10 percent, and gasoline stations posted payroll increases of 10.7 percent.

Arts, entertainment, and recreation - Employment

With restrictions on large gatherings of people, along with individuals’ own reluctance to participate in crowds due to concerns about Covid-19 contagion, entertainment and recreational venues have suffered severe employment losses.

Companies in the performing arts and spectator sports business saw the greatest decline in employment, down 37.4 percent (-4,196 employees) in the second quarter followed by accommodation businesses, which includes hotels, that marked a 32.5 percent (-15,554) drop.

Food services and drinking places, which includes both full-service and limited-service restaurants as well as bars, saw the largest decline in the number of employees with the percentage of their workforce dropping by 15.6 percent (-59,789).

Arts, entertainment, and recreation industry groups by change in employment in Georgia from March to June 2020

·         Performing arts and spectator sports -37.42% (-4,196)

·         Accommodation -32.48% (-15,554)

·         Museums, historical sites, zoos, and parks -17.26% (-608)

·         Food services and drinking places -15.6% (-59,789)

·         Amusements, gambling, and recreation -11.9% (-4,319)

Arts, entertainment, and recreation – Wages

Although food services and drinking places saw the largest decline in the number of employees, accommodation saw the largest decrease in its total wage bill, down 48.7%. Food services and drinking places recorded a 31% decline in payroll, while performing arts and spectator sports-related businesses saw their payroll drop by 26%.

Other Services – Employment and Wages

One area that is often overlooked are other services such as personal services and laundry services, membership organizations and associations, and private households.

Personal and laundry services in this category range from beauty salons and barber shops to nail salons, funeral homes, laundry services, and other services such as parking lots. These businesses saw employment drop in Georgia by 18.6% (-7,334) in the second quarter with payrolls declining by 27.6%.

Membership organizations and associations saw employment decreases of 12.5% (-3,306) and payroll drop by 13.7%. Private households, which are defined as including workers employed by individual families, saw a 3.5% decline in employment with payrolls dropping by 7.5%.

About the numbers

Information on employment and total wages by detailed industry is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and provides the most detailed information on American industries. Because of the level of detail and the use of administrative records, the data are highly accurate but are delayed in publication. Current information is available only through the end of June 2020. More information on the QCEW is available at Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Friday, December 4, 2020

90 percent of Georgia counties show net job losses in the first half of 2020


Over the first six months of 2020, 144 of Georgia’s 159 counties recorded a net loss in jobs. This compares to 56 counties showing job losses in the second half of 2019.

As a percentage of total employment, the largest job losses belonged to Twiggs County (-45%) followed by Warren (-29.5%) and Clayton counties (-22.7%).

Both Twiggs and Warren counties have relatively small labor markets, with Twiggs’ loss resulting in 1,481 fewer jobs and Warren losing 515 jobs. In contrast, Clayton County has a much larger employment base and its loss translated to 28,498 fewer jobs.

In terms of the number of jobs lost, Fulton County (Georgia’s largest county by employment) showed the largest loss with a decrease of 108,000 jobs (-11.8%) over the six-month period.

Oglethorpe County recorded the largest percentage gain in jobs with a 10% increase followed by Crawford County with a 9.7% rise. Both are relatively small in terms of their employment base with Oglethorpe adding 181 jobs while Crawford added 123 jobs over the six months.

In terms of net job gains, Jackson County had the largest increase with 417 (1.4%) new jobs.

Statewide, Georgia reported losses of 8.5% or -391,426 jobs between December 2019 and June 2020.

Clayton County

Among the 11 counties with the largest employments, Clayton County, GA, suffered the greatest percentage in job losses over the first six months of 2020. The county, part of the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metropolitan statistical area, is also home to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and many of its jobs are located in the services sector.

The county saw more than 17,500 jobs disappear in its trade, transportation, and utilities sector and additional 4,600 jobs were lost in its leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels and restaurants.

The only sector to show a job improvement was in manufacturing, which added 477 jobs.

Table of Georgia Counties with net change and net percentage change in employment, 

December 2019 to June 2020

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Shelter-in-place orders hit Georgia’s younger workers hardest and calls into question whether they need to change careers

Although Georgia has begun to re-open its businesses, the effects of the state’s shelter-in-place instructions will remain for some time.

While it is true that everyone felt the effects of the order because they could not participate in normal activities such as going out to eat or attending concerts, younger workers were especially vulnerable both because they could not participate in their normal activities as well as the fact that many of the jobs lost because of businesses closing impacted younger workers more than the overall population.

At the end of December, almost 398,000 people were employed in food services and drinking establishments in the state including everything from full-service restaurants to fast-food and bars.

In addition, nearly 52,000 people were employed in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry in Georgia. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines this industry as including performing arts (theater, music), sports teams, museums, and recreational activities (golfing, fitness centers, marinas, etc.).

Together, these two groups constitute 449,000 workers or more than 11% of the state’s employment.

Occupations filled with younger workers

While data at the state level is not available, we know that many of the jobs in the industries mentioned above were held by younger workers. 

For example, BLS has produced information showing the average age of workers by occupation and many of the jobs in the two industries have some of the youngest median age workers of all industries in the U.S. To give some perspective, 42.3 was the median age of all workers.

Median worker age, 2019:

·       Entertainment attendants, median age 25.6
Food preparation and serving workers, median age 26.3
Waiters and waitresses, median age 26.6
Cashiers, median age 27.2
Parking lot attendants, median age 28.2
Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks, median age 29.1
Dishwashers, median age 29.8
Automotive and watercraft service attendants, median age 30.2
Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers, median age 30.6
Bartenders, median age 32.7

For workers, the loss of these jobs, even temporarily and even though many of them are relatively low paying, is significant even with their wages being offset by unemployment insurance.

It is likely that even with reopening of restaurants, etc., there will be fewer customers as some will be reluctant to venture out except for necessities.

While workers will be recalled, some jobs will be lost permanently. The travel, entertainment, and hospitality industries have been large employers in the past, but it is likely that they have a more mooted future.

Younger workers, with many decades ahead of them in the labor force, need to think about switching jobs into industries that may offer better long-term opportunities.

What if there is a second wave of covid 19?

Georgia’s Governor Kemp has given instructions to slowly re-open the state even though the number of cases of the coronavirus continues to grow, albeit at a more moderate pace.

If the reopening of these establishments leads to a second wave of the virus, it may be much harder to enforce a second shelter-in-place especially for younger workers who would not have yet recovered economically from the first order.

The shelter-in-place order most certainly saved lives, and if it prevented a total longer-term shutdown of Georgia's economy, then the economic cost was worthwhile.

But its value should not negate the acknowledgement that for younger workers in vulnerable jobs, the future looks very uncertain, and workers in the travel, entertainment, and hospitality industries need to reassess whether they need to transition to other industries with better long-term job prospects.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Georgia’s labor market tells a tale of two surveys in the 1st quarter of 2020

Georgia Unemployment Rate, 2018-March 2020, seasonally adjusted
Georgia posted meager 1st quarter employment growth but not due to the coronavirus based on a survey of establishments in the state, while the household survey showed definite signs of the impact of the coronavirus on labor activity.

The State of Georgia gained 5,000 jobs in the 1st quarter of 2020, an 85% decline from its job gains in the 1st quarter of 2019 according to the survey of businesses and government agencies.

At the same time, the state’s unemployment rate remained at 3.1% in January and February before jumping to 4.2% in March a rate not seen in the state since 2018.

The Georgia governor’s “stay-at-home” order was not effective until April 3rd, so the small job gains must be attributed to a general slowing of the state’s economy rather than to the effects of the state’s order.

It is possible that some people were curtailing their economic activities even before the order became official resulting in a slowdown and layoffs, which may account for the increase in the number of unemployed reported in the household survey.

Establishment survey

All three months (January, February, and March) showed smaller results than for the same months a year ago.

The Atlanta metro area gained 2,200 jobs over the quarter that includes a 500 job gain in the month of March. The 1st quarter gain represents a 92% decline from the 1st quarter of 2019 when the area recorded increases of more than 27,000 jobs.

The other 12 metro areas in the state combined to a net loss of 900 jobs in the 1st quarter compared to a gain of 3,000 in the 1st quarter of 2019.

The trend in the numbers along with the fact that the Atlanta area posted a job increase in March despite illnesses associated with Covid-19 in the metro area indicates that the survey of businesses and government agencies did not reflect any effects from the coronavirus in the establishment survey.

Establishment survey by industry

Health care and social assistance posted a 6,000 job increase over the quarter, slightly below the 6,500 job gain in the 1st quarter of 2019.

The increase was partially offset by a 1,700-job loss in the leisure and hospitality sector and a 1,300-job loss in manufacturing. Professional and business services remains the largest sector in the state despite having a net loss of 200 jobs over the quarter.

Establishment survey by area

After Atlanta, the Augusta area posted the next highest job gain among the state’s metro areas, adding 900 jobs in the 1st quarter of 2020.

Areas posting significant job losses included Valdosta (-900), Dalton (-700), and Athens (-700).


In contrast to the establishment survey that serves as the basis for the jobs data, the household survey told a very different story for the first quarter of the year.

In March, the number of unemployed in the state rose by 55,442 to a total of 216,589 people as compared to 187,625 in March 2019.

The number of employed persons dropped by 77,876 people according to the household survey, with a net loss 22,434 people listed as dropping out of the labor force.

As a result, the labor force participation rate declined to 62.1%.

Effects of the coronavirus on Georgia’s labor market

The state was relatively slow in implementing procedures to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus, which explains the small effect on 1st quarter job growth.

For example, the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, which is expected to experience a steep decline in employment due to the closing of many nonessential activities during the stay-at-home period, showed an employment increase of 1,500 jobs in the 1st quarter including a 400 job rise in the month of March.

It is expected that when the April establishment employment numbers are reported most of the industries and areas in the state will show significant declines compared to the 1st quarter of the year, and the state’s unemployment rate will continue to climb.

Whether these employment declines continue through the 2nd quarter depends on both how long the state’s stay-at-home order remains in place, and how confident people feel about returning to their normal activities.