Showing posts with label unemployment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unemployment. Show all posts

Sunday, March 5, 2017

7 Years after the Great Recession, Georgia is regaining its employment levels

New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that after seven years, Georgia workforce has climbed out of the recession but still has a long way to go to regain its pre-recession levels.

BLS is reporting that Georgia’s employment-population ratio for 2016 was 59.0% as compared to the nation’s ratio of 59.7%. This is the best report for the state since 2009.

Prior to the last recession, Georgia routinely exceeded the employment-population ratio of the nation, but this all ended in 2009 when the state’s ratio fell to 59.1%.

It has taken Georgia from 2009 to 2016 to regain that level of employment.

Chart 1. Employment-Population Ratio, U.S. and Georgia, 
Annual Average 2000-2016
BLS defines the employment-population ratio simply as “the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population aged 16 years and over that is employed.” It is widely regarded as the best gauge of workforce employment.

In 2016, Nebraska posted the highest ratio at 69.2%, while West Virginia saw the lowest ratio among states at 50.0%.

For Georgia, the increase from 2015 to 2016 was a statistically significant gain of 1.1 percentage points.

The gain represents an increase of 112,000 in the state’s population, with 154,000 more people employed and 21,000 fewer people listed as officially unemployed.

Georgia’s best year was in 2000 when the ratio stood at 66.8%.

Average State Unemployment Rate Declines

At 5.4%, Georgia’s average unemployment rate remains above the U.S. average of 4.9%. This was still an improvement from 2015’s numbers when the state posted an average rate of 6.0%.

In 2016, New Mexico recorded the highest average unemployment rate at 6.7%, while Hawaii had the lowest average rate at 3.0%.

Private Sector Wages Show Growth

As employment recovers, wages in Georgia are recovering also.

In December 2016, the average nonagricultural wage in the private sector in Georgia stood at $24.72 per hour, an increase of $3.35 over the same time period in 2009.

Wage growth in the state has equaled the pace set nationally. In December 2016, the national private sector average wage stood at $25.89 per hour.

Even accounting for inflation, since December 2009, average hourly wages in Georgia have risen by 15.7% while consumer prices have increased an average of 11.8%.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year: Atlanta area ends 2015 on high note

The Atlanta area posted the greatest percentage growth in jobs among the largest metro areas in the nation for the most recent 12-month period, according to newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Over the year, the Atlanta metro area saw a 3.4% increase that translates into 86,500 new jobs. 

Among the large metros, the Dallas area recorded the next greatest increase, rising 3.0%. Houston showed the smallest annual increase at 0.8%.For the three months ending in November, Atlanta added 50,300 jobs, which was the most jobs created for the fall period looking at records going back to 1990.

As a result of this burst of job creation, the metro area’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.0%, a rate last recorded in 2008. In November 2014, the metro area’s unemployment rate stood at 6.1%.

Despite the large number of new jobs, the metro area has seen only a small increase in its labor force, rising by less than 16,000 people in the past year, an increase of 0.5%.

The combination of new jobs plus a lagging labor force places greater pressure on employers trying to hire and retain employees. 

Atlanta continues its role as the job engine for the state.

The Atlanta area is increasingly becoming the key to economic growth in the state. Here are a few indicators of the Atlanta metro area’s importance to Georgia:

Percentage of Georgia’s job growth attributable to the Atlanta metro area:
1-Month: 86.4%
3-Month: 64.2%
1-Year:  92.5%

5-Years: 78.1%

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Georgia’s modest job growth places it 7th among states in September

Georgia continued its modest employment growth in September adding 9,100 new jobs over the month. The state’s unemployment rate stood at 5.8 percent compared to 6.9 percent, although this drop was partially due to the number of people dropping out of the labor force.

For the 12 months ending in September, the state has grown by 84,200 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 2 percent, the same percentage increase as for the nation. This placed the state seventh in the number of net new jobs over the year trailing behind California, Florida, Texas, New York, North Carolina, and Washington.
Georgia’s slowing job growth can be seen by comparing its most recent three-month average to the same period in 2014. Over the past three months, the state has produce an average of 7,300 jobs each month compared to 12,400 jobs the state was producing for the same time period last year.

One surprise this month was that August’s low initial job growth number (+2,200) was left unchanged in the monthly revisions.

Industries

September saw some severe changes in the fortunes of several industries both up and down. For example, manufacturing, which has been a slow growing segment, added 2,100 jobs over the month. Other industries that saw a sizeable pick-up in employment included government (+5,200) and education and health services (+3,200).

Professional and business services, which has been the state’s traditional growth engine slowed markedly in September, losing 3,400 jobs, while retail dropped another 1,900 employees.
Much of this may be attributed to seasonal adjustment factors that may play out over the next few months, making the three-month averages a better gauge of economic activity.

Still it remains a concern that professional and business services that has been such a mainstay of the state and the Atlanta area’s economy are showing such slow growth. For the three months ending in September, business and professional services have added an average of 300 jobs each month compared to the 3,600 job average the industry was posting at this same time in 2014.

Similarly, leisure and hospitality establishments are adding jobs at a rate of 700 per month compared to 1,800 per month for the same three months in 2014.

Education and health services hiring has also slowed with the industry adding an average of 800 jobs in each of the past three months compared to 1,700 jobs per month from July through September 2014.

Georgia 3-month average change in jobs for selected industries, July – September 2015, in thousands
Industry
Average monthly change in jobs 
July – September 2014
Average monthly change in jobs 
July – September 2015
All nonfarm industries
12.4
7.3



Retail
0.9
-0.5
Information
-0.4
0.3
Professional and business services
3.6
0.3
Education and health services
1.7
0.8
Leisure and hospitality
1.8
0.7
Government
0.9
4.0

Unemployment

 Georgia’s over-the-year decline in unemployment rate from 6.9 percent to 5.8 percent reflects a drop in both the number of unemployed (-55,663) as well as a pick-up in the number of people indicating employment (+44,128). The difference is attributable to the 11,535 people who have dropped out of the labor force.

This decline in labor force flies in the face of the general impression that the state’s population continues to grow, which should be resulting in a growing labor force rather than declining. No good explanation has been provided yet on why the state’s labor force continues to decline. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Georgia Governor asks for "static" count as Obama announces plans to re-settle 10,000 Syrian refugees

Number of new refugees coming to Georgia is unknown.


The New York Times reported on Thursday that President Obama has told administration officials to begin planning for the resettlement of at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. beginning Oct. 1.

The President’s decision comes after Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said on Tuesday that he does not wish to see the number of refugees increasing in Georgia. The governor reportedly told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he wants Georgia’s refugee numbers to remain static at around 2,500 and requested as much to the State Department.

On Wednesday, the governor explained that “We’ll certainly do our share, but we do think they need to do a very good job of making sure that where they place these individuals are places that can absorb them and make it easy on them and easy on the surrounding community." He admitted that the state has no real control over how many refugees the state would take in and said that resettling people is a federal issue.  

The newspaper reported on Tuesday that the governor’s wary approach to the escalating crisis in Syria was echoed by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, typically one of the region’s most forceful advocates of a welcoming policy to immigrants and refugees. He said he needed more time to evaluate the city’s position and that he would likely follow the lead of the Obama administration, which is weighing its options.

“I’m not going to get ahead of the federal government with regards to the Syrian refugee crisis,” he said.

In a briefing, Josh Earnest, press secretary to the President, said that the United States would accept at least 10,000 refugees in the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Other administration officials believe the total number of refugees could rise to 100,000 from the present 70,000. Not all of the 30,000 additional refugees would come from Syria. Mr. Earnest said this was a “misunderstanding” of Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks.

Humanitarian officials have repeatedly disputed the idea that Georgia is taking in more than its fair share of refugees.

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.

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.