The Georgia Department of Labor released recently job market data for January 2013. Although this blog focused more on the significant 2012 benchmark revisions in the same report, let’s take a moment to focus on what happened in January.
As a disclaimer, detailed data from the last year are not yet available yet, so it’s a bit tough to speak authoritatively about the January data. For that reason, I’ll just focus on the basics.
- One of the most basic metrics to look at in January is the December-to-January employment change. Typically, the metro loses between 40,000 and 60,000 jobs during the month, as the holiday shopping season comes to a close. This year, Atlanta seems to have performed far better, losing only 25,000 jobs over the month. I’m not sure exactly why this is without the benefit of detailed data for the last year.
- Instead, we’ll have to rely on the year-over-year employment change, which stands at an impressive 63,400 jobs added since January 2012. For the last year or so, we have normally seen annual job growth between 30,000 and 40,000 jobs. Again, without detailed data I’m hesitant to proclaim that Atlanta’s year-over-year job growth trend moving forward will be in the 60,000-job range (despite how I wish it were so). Over the coming weeks, the release of 2012 detailed data (which will occur Friday the 22nd) and the release of February’s job market data will shed light on whether we’re looking at sustained year-over-year gains of 60,000 jobs, or whether this is a statistical blip.
Given the new revisions, we can take a look at what sectors are hot and what are not.
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities. The sector has added 13,600 jobs year-over-year–among the metro’s best performing sectors (2.6% growth). Although more than half of these jobs are retail positions, the sector as a whole, including warehousing and wholesaling, is performing strongly. This is reflective of strong consumer demand both in metro Atlanta and in the surrounding states, which metro Atlanta’s logistics business serves.
- Professional & Business Services. This sector is broadly adding jobs among nearly all of this subsectors, with 18,000 jobs added year-over-year in total (4.5% growth). Particularly robust are temporary employment services, which account for almost half of the growth (9.7% growth). On a negative note, Computer Systems Design–those ever-coveted tech jobs–only added 1,800 jobs over the last year (3.8% growth). Not a slow rate by any means, but far slower than the rate seen over previous months, which was 3,000 to 5,000 jobs per year.
- Accommodation & Food Services. In another sign that Atlantans themselves are feeling brighter about the economy, this subsector has added 9,500 jobs over the last year (4.8%).
- Health Care. The sector, which nearly always shows job growth despite economic conditions, added a stronger-than-normal 10,700 jobs compared with last January (4.7%).
- Insurance. Here’s an unexpected bright sport. Insurance, which has stagnated throughout the recession, added 3,200 jobs over the last year, which represents 6.2% growth in that small subsector.
- Information. Like Insurance, this sector unexpectedly gained jobs. The 4,800-job gain amounts to 6.0% growth in the sector, although the breakdown of what types of jobs account for this growth is unclear.
- Construction. Although year-over-year job growth of 2,200 jobs (2.6% growth) is normally nothing to get too excited over, in the case of metro Atlanta’s construction sector it is good news. The sector has been crushed by the recession, and, as I have said over and over, the recession won’t “feel” over until real estate-related sectors see a turnaround.
- Private Education. The subsector, which normally grows despite economic conditions, shed 900 jobs compared with January 2012 (1.9% contraction).
- Government. Government, which has been among Atlanta’s worst performers in the last couple years, continued to shed jobs. It lost 3,200 jobs compared with January 2012 (1.0% contraction).
- Manufacturing. The sector managed to eke out growth of 1,500 jobs (1.0% growth), but this is far slower than recent trends. Politicians are counting on Manufacturing to be a source of economic recovery, so this slow rate of growth is a setback. However, the silver lining is that the rest of Georgia excluding Atlanta had stronger manufacturing growth of 4,300 jobs (2.1% growth). Recovery in the rest of Georgia means more tax revenue, as well as greater demand for goods and services produced here in Atlanta.
Next, look forward to household survey (unemployment rate) data, due for release tomorrow.