Metro Atlanta job growth for 2017: solid growth, sputtering finish


The metro Atlanta economy basically broke even in December, but even if it was an uninspiring end to the year, 2017 was a good one for job growth.

The region’s economy finished with 55,600 more jobs than a year earlier, including 1,200 added last month, according to the monthly report from the state Labor Department.

“This is a very good year for the Atlanta area,” said Mark Butler, state labor commissioner. “All of the major indicators trended in the right direction.”

Metro Atlanta accounted for two-thirds of the state’s job growth last year.

The metro unemployment rate dipped to 4.1 percent, down from 4.2 percent in November and 5.0 percent a year ago. More impressively, that improvement came while the labor force was adding 68,210 people.

Metro Atlanta ended the year with 2.79 million jobs.

The healthy showing was not without some flaws. It was, for example, weaker job growth than in any year since 2012. In 2016, the economy added 90,300 jobs. 

Growth was broad, with hiring strong in higher-paid corporate jobs as well as lower-wage jobs in leisure and hospitality, as well as many modestly compensated positions in the health sector.

The only sector to lose jobs was manufacturing, the labor department reported. 

And not all jobs are good ones, said Mark Bell, managing principal in the Atlanta office of Diversified Trust, a wealth management firm. “The one missing piece in this Cinderella story has obviously been wage growth.”

That could change if the pace of growth picks up, since the economy is getting “a sugar rush” from the huge tax cut passed late last year, he said. “So in the first quarter and second quarter, we will continue the trend of growth that is higher than what the economists said it would be.”

The overall economic expansion is now the third-oldest of any since World War Two, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. But it generally takes a cause to trigger a recession -- a “negative shock”  Bell said.

Among possible shocks would be a dramatic spike in gas prices, a war, a constitutional crisis, a sag in corporate profits or soaring inflation.

None of those things seem likely in the imminent future, he said.

Still, when you are managing billions of dollars in wealth – as Diversified Trust does – you should never be cocky, he said. “The skeptic in us says, after you have a sugar rush, do you have a sugar crash?”

Atlanta unemployment rate in December

2007 4.9 percent

2008 7.9 percent 

2009 10.4 percent 

2010 10.3 percent 

2011 9.3 percent 

2012 8.3 percent 

2013 6.9 percent 

2014 5.8 percent 

2015 5.1 percent 

2016 5.0 percent 

2017 4.1 percent 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia Department of Labor 

Metro Atlanta job growth for the year

 

2007,  18,700

2008,  -87,900

2009,  -118,000

2010,  22,600

2011,  42,000

2012,  49,200

2013,  78,100

2014,  104,100

2015,  70,600

2016,  90,300

2017,  55,600

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia Department of Labor ________________________

Other recent stories by Michael E. Kanell:

Home Depot and Walmart join list of bonus givers 

Coke comes in 29th globally for its internet presence

Atlanta gas prices highest in five years and likely going up 

Home Depot hiring for the spring 

Experts (well, some) predict Amazon will pick Atlanta 

Georgia state senator prepares bill requiring internet 'neutrality' 

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

 

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Delta debuts uniforms in ‘Passport Plum’ with launch Tuesday
Delta debuts uniforms in ‘Passport Plum’ with launch Tuesday

Delta Air Lines is about to debut its new uniforms for flight attendants and other employees with designer Zac Posen. Atlanta-based Delta has been preparing for months for the Tuesday launch of the new uniforms. Posen will make an appearance at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Monday afternoon, around the same time that the first crew wearing...
Delta warns of flight cancellations due to subtropical storm Alberto
Delta warns of flight cancellations due to subtropical storm Alberto

Delta Air Lines is warning that it expects it will have to cancel flights due to subtropical storm Alberto. The storm is expected to make landfall just west of Panama City on Monday afternoon with heavy rain and strong wind affecting areas in Alberto’s path, according to Delta. Atlanta-based Delta said it expects delays and cancellations as the...
Ex-Googler turns mom's money into a billion dollars
Ex-Googler turns mom's money into a billion dollars

After Steven Yang left his coveted job at Google, he asked his mother whether he should take venture-capital money to fund his business idea. » RELATED: Do you have the new Gmail? Google’s email gets massive redesign If his online consumer-electronics enterprise was a risky bet, she told him, go with the venture capitalists. But if...
This is the most dangerous day of the week to drive
This is the most dangerous day of the week to drive

Despite several years of steady declines, deadly vehicle crashes are on the rise, according to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.           » RELATED: Metro Atlanta drivers pay some of nation's highest costs The safest day to be on the road: Tuesday....
Starbucks’ racial-bias training will be costly, but could pay off in the long run
Starbucks’ racial-bias training will be costly, but could pay off in the long run

As Starbucks prepares to close stores for racial-bias training next week, the coffee giant will not only be confronting a difficult and emotional issue, but will incur some hefty expenses in the process.           » RELATED: Black men arrested at Starbucks settle for...
More Stories