Sat, March 02, 2024

Simon Says: Augusta LMI in the middle of the pack

The fastest-growing Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) labor market in Georgia for 2023 was Dalton, followed by Columbus and Rome. Dalton’s Labor Market Index (LMI) which includes employment, unemployment, labor force, hours worked, and average weekly earnings, increased by 2.9% in 2023. Columbus LMI grew by 2.6% and Rome by 2.3%.

Augusta grew at 1.1% as did the state of Georgia as a whole. Perhaps surprisingly, some MSAs that have racked up strong growth in the last few years were less robust in 2023. Atlanta’s LMI grew by just 0.8%, Gainesville by just 0.9% and Savannah did not grow at all.

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Dalton saw all five components of the LMI increase in 2023. Employment grew by 2.1%, unemployment fell by 0.1 percentage points, the labor force grew by 1.5%, earnings increased by 18.0% and hours worked grew by 6.6%. Columbus saw all components except unemployment grow strongly in 2023. Employment grew by 2.7%, the labor force by 2.5%, earnings by 15.0%, and hours worked by 7.1%.

As I mentioned last week, employment in Augusta barely changed over the year, down 0.04%. Unemployment increased by 0.3 percentage points to 3.8%. The labor force grew by 0.8%, earnings by 8.2%, and hours worked by 2.7%.

Although Atlanta’s employment and labor force both grew at 2.4%, unemployment climbed 0.4 percentage points but is still low at 3.3%. Earnings barely grew at 1.0% and hours worked fell by 0.6%. In Savannah, employment and the labor force grew at 1.9% and 1.7% respectively. Unemployment inched up 0.2 percentage points to 3.0%. However, earnings fell by 4.6% and hours worked by 3.4%.

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