Atlanta job market continues solid recovery, most of rest of state lagging

According to data released yesterday, Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in October from 8.3 percent in September. The rate was 8.8 percent in October 2012.

That’s good news, I guess, although at the current pace we won’t be back to anything resembling “full employment” for several more years.

The Ga. Dept. of Labor also released the payroll jobs data for the state and for various metros, but I guess they haven’t sent out press releases for individual metro areas yet. No press releases, no news coverage.

But the numbers are there and they aren’t pretty.

Sure, the state saw a solid 2.1 percent increase between Oct. 2012 and Oct. 2013 in the number of payroll jobs, but that number was buoyed by Atlanta’s strong 2.7 percent year-over-year growth.

Over the past year, the state added over 85,000 jobs, but more than 63,000 of those were in the Atlanta metro area.

Beyond Atlanta, three Georgia metro areas had fairly decent job growth over the past year: Gainesville +1.6 percent, Dalton +1.1 percent, and Macon +1.1 percent.

A whole group of metro areas saw growth of less than 1 percent, which probably is not enough to keep pace with population growth: Athens +.8 percent, Savannah +.8 percent, Augusta +.7 percent, Valdosta +.4 percent, Albany +.3 percent, and Columbus +.1 percent.

And several metro areas lost jobs over the last 12 months: Rome -.5 percent, Hinesville -1.0 percent, Brunswick -1.2 percent, and Warner Robins – 1.3 percent.

Government employment declined over the last year at the federal, state, and local levels. Of the 4,900 federal jobs lost, about half were from the Department of Defense. Local governments cut employment in education by 1,800 jobs.

Predictably, some metro areas were especially impacted by federal job losses, with Hinesville losing 500, Savannah losing 500, and Warner Robins losing 800.


  1. saltycracker says:

    Do you have any stats on the growth by city/zip in metro Atlanta ? The traffic flows from casual observation drive a supposition the better job growth is OTP.

    • Bill Dawers says:

      Short answer: no.

      The payroll jobs data is only released for metro areas as a whole.

      But, if someone wanted to dig deep in the data, there are hard numbers for unemployment claims by county ( While there’s no perfect correlation, generally a year-over-year decline in claims will indicate job growth.

      There are also estimates from the household survey that generates the labor force data that is the basis of the unemployment rate, etc.: None of that is broken down by zip, but it is broken down by cities and counties. Of course, because of delayed data due to the govt. shutdown, the latest numbers are from August, so maybe not very useful. (That should be updated soon, however.) The labor force estimates are considered less reliable than the survey of payroll establishments for determining job growth, but over time the noisiness evens out. For August, at least, the household survey suggests stagnant year-over-year job growth within the city of Atlanta, which might be a reflection of what you’re seeing.

      • saltycracker says:

        No worries.
        The Gulf of Mexico has its dead zones. The Metro has Atlanta and Decatur.
        But activity is still great in the right spots.

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