Showing posts with label georgia department of education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label georgia department of education. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Georgia’s job creation machine continues to slow due to job slowdown outside the Atlanta metro area

Georgia 12-month percentage change in nonfarm jobs. seasonally adjusted, 2014-2016

Despite upbeat messages from the Georgia Department of Labor, Georgia’s December 2016 nonfarm employment count only equaled its 2015 job growth and fell below the levels set in December 2013 and 2014, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In December, Georgia added 5,900 jobs, seasonally adjusted, the same as in December 2015. Before seasonal adjustment, net jobs dropped by 9,700. In December 2015, the state lost only 2,100 jobs before seasonal adjustment.

As a result, Georgia’s 12-month net increase in seasonally adjusted 103,300 net new jobs with a job growth rate of 2.4 percent, still higher than the national average at 1.5 percent, but the slowest job increase recorded in the state since 2013.

Unemployment

As a result of the slowdown in new job creation, even as the state’s labor force grew, the state’s unemployment rate in December was virtually unchanged over the year.

In December 2016, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 5.4 percent compared to a 5.5 percent rate in December 2015, a statistically insignificant difference.

Over the past year, the state added 27,767 people to its labor force, and the number of unemployed grew by 10,648, not seasonally adjusted.

Atlanta Metro Area

The slowdown in job growth was concentrated outside the Atlanta metro area.

In December 2016, the Atlanta metro area added 4,500 jobs, seasonally adjusted and accounted for three-fourths of the state’s net job growth.

Over the year, the Atlanta’s area growth rate reached 2.7 percent, slightly below 2016’s rate of 2.8 percent. For the year, the Atlanta metro area added 70,500 jobs, about the same number of jobs as in 2015.

Other Metro Areas in Georgia

Unfortunately, the state continues to acknowledge the problem of slowing job growth outside the Atlanta metro area.

Three metro areas in Georgia added fewer than 300 net new jobs over the past 12 months. Dalton added 200 jobs over the year, Valdosta added 100, and Hinesville actually has lost 100 jobs since December 2015.

While BLS does not publish a number for nonmetro nonfarm jobs in the state, with the Atlanta and Savannah metro areas accounting for three-fourths of the state’s new jobs and the smaller metros suffering, it is fair to say that the rural parts of the state are suffering at least to the same degree as the small metro areas.

Unless conditions change by an influx of new jobs into the rural and small metro areas, the Atlanta area will continue to be a mecca for state residents looking to escape dead-end careers, and the state will be steadily transformed as economic power (leading to political power) continues to concentrate in the Atlanta area.

Nonfarm Employment December 2016  /  12-months ending in December 2016
(Seasonally Adjusted. Preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Statewide Georgia   5,900      /   103,300
Albany                          -200  /    1,000
Athens                       -1,400  /    1,700
Atlanta                        4,500  /  70,500
Augusta                             0  /   4,800
Brunswick                     200  /      500
Columbus                      800  /    1,900
Dalton                             0    /      200
Gainesville                    600  /     2,100
Hinesville                     -100  /     -100
Macon                          -200  /      700
Rome                            -100  /      400
Savannah                    1,100  /    6,800
Valdosta                       -400  /       100


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Education in Georgia: The first test results are not encouraging

Georgia has released its first set of test results from its new Georgia Milestones Assessment System.


The tests are meant to give educators and parents a better idea as to how well students are being prepared for their futures. The new tests replace the state’s old Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT).

According to Georgia State Superintendent Richard Woods, “Under the CRCT, Georgia had some of the lowest expectations in the nation for its students. Too many students were labeled as proficient when, in reality, they had not fully mastered the standards and needed additional support. That hurt our kids, who need to be competitive with others across the country and hurt our teachers by making it difficult for them to have a true picture of the academic strengths and weakness of their students.”

While it is commendable that Georgia take a stronger interest in preparing its students for a competitive global workplace, the results from this first set of tests are not encouraging.

Using four levels of performance, students needed to score in one of the top two levels to show they were ready to advance to the next grade. For those subjects showing the best results (biology, U.S. history, and economics/business) at the high school level, fewer than 40 percent of students were ready to be promoted to the next grade level.

In mathematics, 38 to 39 percent of students across the state in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades were ready to be promoted. Unfortunately, this dropped down 34 percent when high school students were tested on their knowledge of coordinate algebra, and dropped to 33 percent when they were tested on analytic geometry.
Source: Georgia Department of Education

In English and language arts, the results were slightly better with 38 percent of 9th grade students passing literature and composition and 35 percent of high school students passing American literature and composition.

Employers consistently complain that new workers lack the skills needed to be productive. Companies are reluctant to spend the money to train workers knowing that once trained, these same workers can leave for better paying jobs.

That leaves it up to the state and individuals. If Georgia wants to compete in a global economy, the state has two choices. It can better prepare its future workforce for jobs that will demand greater verbal and mathematical skills, or it can continue to rely on attracting better trained workers from out of state as it has over the past decades. For example, in Atlanta, the engine of Georgia’s job growth, only a little more than half of its residents were born in Georgia.

The problem with this second approach is that it must then compete with the other 49 states, as well as other nations, to both attract companies to the state as well as people to staff those positions when they come to Georgia. The result can be a very expensive form of economic development; more expensive than building a world-class education system.

The role between education and economic development is clear. As a first step that recognizes the importance of education to the state’s economy, the Georgia Department of Education has hired an economic development specialist to work with business executives. It is a good start, but preparing students for those jobs by giving them the needed skills is vital.

Now that we have a more honest assessment of future employees’ skills, it is up to everyone in the state to choose whether to take the challenge or hope for the continued importation of skilled labor to meet Georgia employers’ future needs.