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

Friday, August 20, 2021

Georgia did not reached its pre-pandemic employment levels in July


Georgia released its statewide employment data for July 2021 on August 19. In announcing that the state’s unemployment rate had dropped to 3.7 percent, the Georgia Department of Labor news release headline read: 

Unemployment Rate Drops to Pre-Pandemic Level in July (GDOL News Release)

 While the good news is that the state’s unemployment rate did drop by three-tenths of one percent from June to July, the state has not yet achieved the levels it had gained in March 2020 before pandemic-related cutbacks and closures caused a sharp increase in the state’s unemployment rate and an equally sharp contraction of its employment levels. 

Unemployment rate

In October 2019, the state reported a record low unemployment rate of 3.3 percent, which it maintained through January 2020; but by February, the rate was starting to creep upwards, reaching 3.6 percent in March 2020.   

Layoffs exploded in April 2020, with the state reporting an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent. Since then, there has been a continual reduction in the unemployment rates up to the present.

Unemployment rates are typically published to only one decimal point, but it is possible to carry out the calculation to multiple decimal points and carrying out the calculation to four decimal points, one can see that the March 2020 rate was technically 3.5923 percent. 

This compares to the July 2021 rate of 3.7421, or a difference of 0.1498 percentage points, which falls within the limits of what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics would call statistically insignificant, so the State of Georgia chose to declare it had reached the pre-pandemic level of March 2020 because the state labor agency could technically defend the statement. 

The Georgia Commissioner of Labor, Mark Butler, could have waited until the August numbers are published to confirm that that the state’s unemployment rate had reached pre-pandemic levels, but that would have been taking the risk that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August might not continue to show a decline. 

Labor force, employment, and unemployment

While the number of unemployed in Georgia has steadily declined as the number of people employed has increased, neither measure equals the levels achieved in March 2020. 

From March 2020 to July 2021, the number of unemployed has increased by 6,491, while the number of employed individuals has dropped by 41,424. 

As a result, the state’s labor force, which is by definition a combination of employed and unemployed, has actually declined by 34,933, or nearly 0.7 percent. 

This brings the state’s labor force slightly below the level it reached in October 2019, even though the state’s population has continued to increase. 

The situation is also reflected in other data published by BLS for Georgia. Georgia’s labor force participation rate has declined from 62.9 percent in March 2020 to 61.7 percent in July 2021. Labor force participation rate is defined as representing the number of people in the labor force as a percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population. In other words, the participation rate is the percentage of the population that is either working or actively looking for work. 

Georgia’s employment-population ratio has also dropped from 60.7 percent in March 2020 to 59.4 percent in July 2021. The employment-population ratio represents the number of employed people as a percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population. In other words, it is the percentage of the population that is currently working. 

What happened to these people? Statisticians do not know. Some may have chosen to retire, others may have simply dropped out of the labor force. Whether and when they will re-enter the labor force is also unknown. What is known is that there is a group of former workers who so far have not been re-employed as of July 2021, so implying that the state has fully recovered its pre-pandemic levels seem premature at best. 

Nonfarm employment


The State of Georgia and BLS also publish a separate monthly survey of nonfarm jobs, and this also confirms that the state has not yet reached its pre-pandemic levels. 

In July 2021, nonfarm jobs in Georgia totaled 4,572,100. While this was a good increase from June (up by 43,600), it still leaves the state 64,900, or 1.4 percent, short of the number obtained in March 2020 and more than 94,000 jobs short of the highest level achieved in February 2020. 

Much of this shortfall can be attributed to the disappearance of jobs in the Atlanta metro area, where July’s jobs total of 2,797,200 is still 67,100 jobs below the level it achieved in March 2020, and 89,500 short of its peak in January 2020. 

Whether the state, and the nation, can continue to grow its employment base remains to be seen, as Covid-related variants raise questions about the ongoing strength of the economy through the end of 2022, but in any case, there is still more work to be done to re-establish all the employment that has been lost from the pre-pandemic time.


Note: All data discussed are seasonally adjusted. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical procedure that removes the effects of normal seasonal variations—resulting from events such as holidays, school openings and closings, and weather—from data series. Seasonally adjusted data make it easier to observe cyclical and other economic trends, such as those associated with general economic expansions and contractions. For further information, see Seasonal adjustment of Current Population Survey (CPS) estimates.

Charts are from the website.

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

Monday, November 30, 2020

Pandemic-related job losses concentrated in Georgia’s 11 largest counties

All of Georgia’s 11 largest counties, as measured by employment size, saw significant drops over the first six months of 2020. Combined, the 11 counties recorded a net job decline of 10.2%. (-278,502 jobs). 

From June 2019 to June 2020, employment in the 11 counties dropped by 8.8% as a 1.6% increase in employment during the second half of 2019 was more than offset by the sharp declines in the first half of 2020. At the end of June, the 11 counties recorded a combined jobs total of 2,438,044, about the same level as at the end of June 2015. 

The job losses over the first half of 2020 were greater in those 11 largest counties than in the other 148 counties in the state. Georgia’s 148 other counties saw jobs decline by 6% (-112,924) in the first six months of 2020. Over the past 12 months, the 148 counties together reported job declines of 4.3% (-78,656). 

Statewide, Georgia recorded a drop of 8.5% (-391,426) jobs in the first six months of 2020 after a 1.7% increase (77,209 jobs) in the last six months of 2019. As of June, the state recorded a total of 4,196,040 jobs. 

County-level employment for Georgia’s 11 largest counties 

Clayton County, in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA, MSA, recorded the largest drop over the first six months of 2020, down 22.7%; a loss of 28,498 jobs. The county is home to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and a portion of the county’s private sector employment is tied to the travel industry, which has felt much of the impact of travel restrictions related to the pandemic.

Forsyth County, a fast-growing suburban county located north of Atlanta and also in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA, MSA, recorded the small employment percentage decline at 5.3%, a loss of 4,163 jobs. 

Job losses were not confined to large counties in the Atlanta area. Chatham County, part of the Savannah, GA, metropolitan statistical area, recorded a 9.6% net loss (-15,673) in the first half of 2020. 

Richmond County, part of the Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC, MSA, reported a 7.8% loss (-8.274). In the Columbus, GA-AL MSA, Muscogee County showed a loss of 6.7% (-6,535), and in the Macon-Bibb County, GA, MSA, Bibb County reported a loss of 7.2% (-6,007). 

Weekly wages 

The average weekly wage in the 11 counties declined by 1.2% over the first six months of 2020 to $1059.91. The overall decline was less than for the state as a whole, which saw the average weekly wage dropping by 1.3% to $1075. 

Over the 12 months ending in June, total payrolls in Georgia declined by 4% ($2.4 billion).

Employment information comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program that publishes a quarterly count of employment and wages reported by employers covering more than 95 percent of U.S. jobs, available at the county, MSA, state and national levels by industry. Employment and average weekly wage data in Georgia were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it. Percentage may not add up to 100 due to rounding.