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

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.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tropical storm Irma had minimal effect on Georgia’s employment and that is worrying

Georgia nonfarm employment, Jan-Sep 2017, in thousands, seasonally adjusted

Nobody was surprised when Georgia’s employment numbers for September showed a 500-job loss, after seasonal adjustment. Most blamed it on Irma, which hit Florida as a hurricane and was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it came through Georgia.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler told WUGA that the storm caused Georgia’s job numbers to fall and unemployment claims to rise in September. Butler said a 240 percent jump for the month in the coastal region drove the state’s numbers to some degree.

“It wasn’t because of some kind of economic issue that happened where there was some problem with the economy,” according to Butler. “Most of what we saw with the jobs and initial claims has to do with the storm.”

It is true that the largest disruptions occurred in the Savannah area, which experienced a mandatory evacuation although the storm itself failed to seriously impact the coastal area.

If the job losses were storm-related, then temporary and contract employment should have shown the greatest losses. These jobs lack the security of regular employment and so are the most likely to be impacted when businesses suddenly stop operations even for a few days.

Unfortunately, in September, employment services in the state actually gained 5,300 jobs in September, before seasonal adjustment. That is above the 4,600 jobs gained in September 2016 when there was no storm.

Job losses concentrated in three industries partially offset by gains in two others

Georgia’s job losses in September were concentrated in three key industries: construction, manufacturing, and retail trade.

Construction jobs fell by 3,600 over the month, followed by a 2,900 job decline in retail trade and a 2,800 job drop in manufacturing.

The reason overall losses were not larger can be attributed to gains in education and health services (+4,200) and leisure and hospitality (+2,800).

Again, if the tropical storm had caused significant job losses, leisure and hospitality would have been one of the key industries to suffer.

It is possible some construction jobs were lost due to the inclement weather, but even if they were, that would not explain the loss of manufacturing or retail jobs in September.

On the other hand, manufacturing might represent not a loss of manufacturing activity, but a decreased need to hire more people as automation takes on a larger role in the manufacturing process.

For retail, job losses might reflect the increasing effect of the internet and online purchasing. Retailers are being cautious as they see online sales rise.

Looking ahead to Christmas, there is sure to be seasonal hiring in the months of October and November, but it is possible to see a continued decline in retail jobs after the first of the year.

One month does not make a trend

Monthly numbers are subject to wide variations month-to-month, despite the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s attempts smooth out the changes using seasonal adjustment factors.

It is too soon to say whether the losses in September represent something significant, but it is worth watching future months.

Expect to see some job pick-up in construction from storm-related repairs, and a boost in October before settling down to more usual numbers in November. 

Then we will be able to see if September was a fluke or the beginning of a trend.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hurricane Matthew’s impact on workers in Georgia? Low-wage service workers will be hit worse than others

Conventional wisdom would say that the hurricane will show few long-term effects on overall earnings but that certain groups of workers will be affected more severely than others.

Low-wage workers in service industry jobs in the affected areas, such as Savannah, will see a decline in their income for the year.

Hurricane Matthew was felt severely in the coastal counties of Georgia. Required evacuations in Chatham County (Savannah) and other counties disrupted some of the fastest growing parts of the state.

In some respects, the disruptions were minimized by the storm coming at the end of the week. Nevertheless, Chatham County schools, which can be seen as a proxy for area’s return to “normal,” were not to reopen until Wednesday, October 12.

Looking at impact, it is tempting to see the disruption as causing a major economic blow to coastal Georgia, and to a less extent, the entire state, but this overstates the true impact.

Looking at impact, it is tempting to see the disruption as causing a major economic blow to coastal Georgia, and to a less extent, the entire state, but this overstates the true impact.

But it is important to note that while overall impact may be minimal in most areas, the effect on earnings will vary for different groups of employees. Low wage employees who do not hold occupations needed for cleanup and recovery will not be able to make up wages lost during the natural disaster, while those employees who do have skills needed for repair and restoration activities should see a net increase in their earnings as the increased recovery work more than offsets the loss of wages caused by the temporary shutdown of businesses during the event.

What conventional wisdom tells us

Here is the conventional wisdom when it comes to dealing with the effects of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Matthew:

Prior to the event, business picks up as consumers and businesses purchase additional supplies in anticipation of shortages. These include food and fuel.

When the event causes evacuations, people leave the affected areas. Within the affected areas, business slows, while there is an increase in economic activity in the areas receiving the evacuees.

After the event, people return to the areas previously evacuated, and economic activity increases above the normal level as people spend money and effort to restore the areas to their pre-event levels.

Over the medium term, the dip in economic activity is cancelled out by the higher-than-usual rise in economic activity post-event.

Depending on the amount of post-event activity, the natural disaster can result in an overall boost to the local economies as they receive an influx of assistance from outside sources such as state governments and the federal government.

By all appearances, Hurricane Matthew should fit this model: Short-term disruption but no longer-term impact.

Effects on workers’ income in affected areas

For workers, the effect of a natural disaster depends, somewhat, on their type of employment. Hourly workers lose income because businesses close during the natural disaster. The cleanup period benefits hourly workers who work in industries that assist in repairing and restoring areas to their pre-event level. This includes construction workers and those in the utility industry who find increased demand and benefit from working more hours and receiving overtime pay.

Low-wage workers in other industries, such as hospitality workers or hourly school employees, suffer longer dips in their pay. They lose income during the time of the natural disaster as businesses slow or shut down temporarily. After the event, businesses in industries such as tourism and hotels, and even higher-end restaurants, find reduced economic activity and so workers in those industries continue to feel the effects.

In most all industries, salaried workers continue to be paid during this time, so their income loss is less. Their income levels feel neither the effect during the event nor see a particular boost after the event.

Workers paid on commission, such as sales workers, lose that business during the natural disaster and even, to some extent afterwards, as cleanup takes precedence over new purchases. Some purchases are postponed, so they are pushed to a future date, while other purchases are cancelled and are never regained.

Effects on workers’ income outside affected areas

For areas taking in evacuees, it means an unexpected but welcome increase in economic activity. These unexpected “guests” purchase goods and services, including hotel rooms, food, and gasoline causing extra work in these areas and creating demand that translates into additional wages for hourly workers in meeting their needs.

Workers in the areas taking in evacuees see a wage “bonus” from the extra demands resulting in a temporary boost to their earnings. When evacuees return to their home areas, this demand slows and earnings return to more normal levels.


Hardest hit will be low-wage workers who lost wages during the natural disaster and who do not have jobs related to the subsequent cleanup. Those workers suffer a decline in earnings that will not be recovered.

Workers who have skills related to repair and restoration of areas affected by the natural disaster will see a net gain in earnings as work lost due to the natural disaster is more than offset by additional work caused by recovery operations.

While the actual economic impact will not be known for months, maybe for a year, it will be interesting to economists to see how the real impact measures against “conventional economic wisdom”.

It is important that policymakers understand that while the overall impact may not be significant, you cannot overlook how individuals’ earnings are affected by such events.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Georgia’s job growth not consistent across the state

Georgia added 29,800 net new nonfarm jobs for an increase of 0.7% in the first half of 2016 and rising by 2.8% over the year, but much of that growth was concentrated in five metro areas – Atlanta, Savannah, Brunswick, Augusta, and Gainesville, Ga.

The Savannah area continues its hot streak on jobs, adding 3,900 since December for a total of 7,100 over the past 12 months, an increase of 4.1%.

Savannah’s continued job growth is propelling it towards competition with the Augusta area as the state’s second largest metro area. In June 2012, the Augusta area had 58,700 more jobs than the Savannah area. By June 2016, this difference had shrunk by 12%.

Brunswick posted the largest percentage increase for the first half of 2016, rising by 3.1%, or 1,4,00 jobs, for annual increase of 3.3%.

Meanwhile, the state’s largest metro area, Atlanta, is showing some slowdown. While the area added 15,100 jobs since December, this is slower than the numbers it posted for the first half of 2014 (30,700) and the first half of 2015 (15,400).

For the first half of 2016, the Atlanta area posted a job growth rate of 0.6%, the same rate as for the first half of 2015. Over the past 12 months, the Atlanta area added 69,400 jobs for a growth rate of 2.7%, slightly below the state’s overall rate.

Home to 60% of all nonfarm jobs in the state, any slowdown in the Atlanta area is bound to affect statewide numbers.

Hinesville and Columbus areas lagging in jobs

While Georgia continues to experience faster job growth than the nation, not all metro areas in the state are participating in this boom to the same extent. Areas of the state not feeling the effects of the enlarging economy include Hinesville and Columbus.

The Hinesville area recorded a loss of 300 jobs for the first six months of 2016 and has shown no net increase in new jobs since June 2015. The area’s job market continues to stagnate with no net increase in jobs over the past eight years.

The Columbus metro area lost 400 jobs since December partially offsetting a gain of 900 jobs from July through December for a net addition of only 500 jobs since last June. The Columbus area has seen very slow job growth since the recession, rising by only 4,600 net new jobs since June 2010, a net growth rate averaging less than 0.7% per year over the six year period.

Athens lost 100 jobs in the first six months of 2016, although a strong second half of 2015 propelled it to one of the strongest job gains among metro areas in the state for the 12 months ending in June, adding a net of 3,600 jobs for an increase of 4% since June 2015.

The Macon and Valdosta areas showed no net change in jobs since December but both areas showed good growth in the second half of 2015, resulting in 12-month job gains of 2.1% and 2.2% respectively.