Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Simon Says: Covid affects Augusta employment numbers; Georgia jobs grow

Dr. Simon Medcalfe, AU Economics Professor

Two years from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employment in the Augusta MSA in February 2022 is more than 6,000 jobs below the level in February 2020. Employment in the state of Georgia in February 2022 is 1.2 percent higher than in February 2020.

Over the past two years, three sectors of the local economy have seen employment surpass pre-pandemic levels: manufacturing (up to about 200 jobs), retail (up to 3,000 jobs), and transportation and utilities (up just less than 1,000 jobs).

The state of Georgia also sees higher employment in manufacturing (up to about 4,000), retail (up 18,000), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (up 28,000). These sectors represent the shift in consumer spending patterns away from services and towards goods during the pandemic. Goods are manufactured, then transported to retail stores for purchase.

The Augusta industry that has lost the most jobs over the last two years is mining, logging, and construction, which lost about 3,000 jobs. Education and health services lost about 1,000 jobs and the government lost 2,000 jobs.

Likewise, in Georgia, construction is down about 3,000 jobs (although the industry was up about 1,000 jobs in January 2022, showing the volatility in this sector). Government jobs are down 24,000 across the state. However, education and health services are up about 4,500 jobs.

In fact, over the last two years, Augusta has had the worst-performing jobs market (see chart). The 6,000 jobs we have lost represent a decline of 2.6 percent. Five other metro areas continue to have employment levels below pre-pandemic levels (Albany, Columbus, Macon, Valdosta, and Warner Robins). Georgia’s growth is being driven by the coastal areas (the port cities of Brunswick, Hinesville, and Savannah) and Atlanta and outlying regions (Athens, Gainesville, and Rome).

Commentators talk about the disparate impact Covid has had on different groups in our society, but it certainly looks like it has had a disparate impact on different economies in Georgia.

Leave a comment

This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now