Atlanta’s unemployment rate fell 0.1% to 9.0% in February, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday. The estimate for January’s rate was revised downward to 9.1%–the second time in a row the previous month’s rate was lowered.
Compared to February 2011, the metro’s workforce has grown by about 45,000, and the number of people considered unemployed fell by almost 20,000.
The unemployment rate in February 2011 stood at 9.9%.
Atlanta’s unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted. A decline on the order of 0.1% is normal in keeping with seasonal trends.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics report issued Wednesday gives a snapshot of economic trends within the metro area.
The report compares employment and income across the 323 largest counties in the United States (comparing the third quarter of 2010 with the third quarter of 2011). Five of those counties–Clayton, Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett–are in the Atlanta metro area.
Employment Growth (Q3 2011 vs Q3 2010)
Growth in Average Wage (Q3 2011 vs Q3 2010)
Average Weekly Wage (Q3 2011)
The data only include workers who are eligible for unemployment insurance. The income statistics include only wages among workers covered by unemployment insurance, and are therefore different from the personal income data released yesterday.
A few other counties of importance to Atlanta:
Richmond, GA (Augusta)
Chatham, GA (Savannah)
Hamilton, TN (Chattanooga)
Greenville, SC (Greenville)
Mecklenburg, NC (Charlotte)
Jefferson, AL (Birmingham)
The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the 2011 personal income data on Wednesday. How did Georgia do?
So-so. At best.
A variety of metrics show mixed results, but Georgia generally was towards the middle-bottom of the pack in growth metrics, and towards the bottom in total income.
Per Capita Personal Income, 2011
Georgia: $36,104 (rank 39/51)
US Average: $41,663
Per Capita Personal Income Percentage Growth, 2010-2011
Georgia: 3.9% (rank 35/51)
Us Average: 4.3%
Total Personal Income Percentage Growth, 2010-2011
Georgia: 5.0% (rank 23/51)
United States: 5.1%
The results are nothing to get to thrilled about, but are no cause for alarm either. Georgia’s per capita personal income growth rate exceeded all of its neighbors except for Tennessee (our neighbor to the northwest appears to be doing well on many fronts, lately). Georgia’s total personal income growth rate exceeded all of its neighbors except Florida (although newspapers tend to focus on this measure, it is biased in favor of states with high by population growth rate, and is hence less meaningful than the per capita rate).
Still, the southeast lags all other regions in terms of per capita income, and the rift is widening: as a whole, the southeast had a slower growth rate in personal income than any other region. Georgia (and specifically Atlanta) will have a tough time keeping up with the national average as long as the southeast, its core trading area, remains stunted. North Carolina, in particular, posted surprisingly weak results, outgrowing only Maine and Alaska on a per capita basis.
The data was not released at the metro level. But there is cause to speculate Atlanta might be outperforming the rest of the state, given the rest of the state’s relatively weak job growth.
According to the most-watched index of house prices, Case Shiller, Atlanta’s housing market performed worst in the nation over 2011 in terms of median sale price. Prices fell 14.8% between January 2010 and January 2011. The following chart shows the trend plainly enough:
The second half of 2011 seems to be particularly brutal: between August and September, prices fell over 5% over the month–the stuff of horrors, to be sure.
According to the report:
Atlanta continues to stand out in terms of recent relative weakness. It was down 2.1% over the month, and has fallen by a cumulative 19.7% over the last six months. It also posted the worst annual return, down 14.8%.
Look out below!
In an otherwise slow news week, I’ll throw out a few international tidbits:
After a week chock full of news, I’ll be breaking up the Weekly Pulse into two posts.
Savannah Dredging Project Continues to Flounder: Case Likely Headed to SC Supreme Court (Charleston Post & Courier), Joint Study of Jasper Port in the Works (Businessweek)
It’s the most exciting day of the month–Atlanta’s most recent economic data has been released!
Okay, perhaps more people are awaiting the premier of The Hunger Games tonight than the monthly jobs update, but this blog covers local economics rather than entertainment, so this is the best you’re going to get on this site in the way of excitement.
The Jobs Report – Preliminary February Data
Atlanta’s Payroll Survey, the key data for monitoring the city’s economic progress, showed that nonfarm payrolls grew by 43,900 jobs year-over-year, comparing February 2011 to February 2012. This is a solid result that is further evidence of a sustained recovery, although far below the stratospheric 68,400 reported last month: as I noted, that figure seemed curiously high (in fact, my guesstimate of actual annual job growth at 48,000 looks pretty close).
Slowly but surely, Atlanta is closing the gap with the national employment picture, although we remain substantially behind for the time being:
Month-over-month, the metro added 13,000 jobs, which is in line with normal seasonal trends.
Atlanta’s job market remains lopsided. Professional & Business Services continues to surge: over the last twelve months, it accounted for almost half of Atlanta’s net job growth. Month-over-month, the sector added 4,700 jobs, which is a bit stronger than normal seasonal trends. Trade, Transportation, & Utilities–especially Retail Trade–also grew rapidly, while Manufacturing and Education & Health posted solid gains.
Outside of those four sectors, the bright spots are few and far between. Information, Construction, and Leisure & Hospitality all were stagnant, without significant change over the year.
On the other side of the coin, Government and, particularly, Finance continue to shed jobs. 2,400 real estate jobs were lost year-over-year, amid a still-anemic housing market.
All in all, the 43,900 year-over-year number is a step in the right direction. Using annual averages, the city gained only 30,300 jobs over 2011. If the trend of the last couple months continues, we could be looking at annual job creation of about 45,000 jobs year-over-year, which is much closer to healthy levels.
January’s Revised Data
I also noted last month that January’s job total was a preliminary estimate, and subject to revision (which is usually modest). The revised January number was lowered by 3,000 jobs–nothing too earth-shattering.
Georgia’s February Unemployment Rate
The state’s unemployment rate fell by a tenth of a percentage point to 9.1%. This number is seasonally-adjusted (unlike the data above). There has been some speculation that seasonal adjustments have been skewing the unemployment rate for a couple reasons (a mild winter, plus statistical mayhem wrought as the jobs picture collapsed in winter 2009).
With that caveat, the state’s unemployment rate seems to be heading in the right direction:
Metro Atlanta’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate will be released next week. It currently stands at 9.4%. Figure on the rate dropping a tenth or two, due partly to seasonality and partly to job growth.
Atlanta Unemployment Insurance Initial Claims
The February report is better. Claims fell 16.2% compared to February 2011. However, February isn’t a big layoff month for the metro: about a third less layoffs occur in February compared to January. Still, a 16% year-over-year reduction is solid.
Australian pallet and container leasing company CHEP has decided to move its American headquarters from Orlando to Atlanta, reports the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The move is expected to bring 173 jobs to the metro area.
The possibly of a CHEP move was initially reported two weeks ago.
The office will be located in Dunwoody.