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SIMON SAYS: Poor job outlook in the CSRA

Dr. Simon Medcalfe, AU Economics Professor

Editor’s Note:
Despite hearing companies are willing to hire, the numbers in the CSRA don’t bear that out. Since June, the local economy has struggled to add jobs. With fewer job openings the outlook, at least in terms of overall employment, for the beginning of 2022 isn’t any better. The A.U. and ABD economist, Dr. Simon Medcalfe shares the numbers with some perspective on outside influences.

Job openings in Georgia fell by 8.0% to 379,000 and by 6.6% to 170,000 in South Carolina in November 2021 according to data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of job openings remain at historically high levels. The Augusta Leading Economic Indicator slipped 0.6% in November. The loss of job openings was offset by an increase in residential building permits (up 26%) but initial claims for unemployment insurance also increased by 27%. There was also a small fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and real savings were hurt by inflation running at 7%.

Georgia also had the largest number of separations of all the states at 277,000, an increase of 57,000 from October. About three quarters of the separations were workers quitting their jobs with the other quarter being layoffs and discharges. Hiring by firms has also slowed to 245,000 from a peak of 268,000 in September.

In South Carolina, separations declined by 7,000 to 103,000 with most of the decrease coming from fewer layoffs. Quits remained essentially unchanged. South Carolina firms hired an extra 126,000 workers in November, up from 117,000 in September.

Although Georgia and South Carolina are adjacent states with very similar political leadership and culture, the data from November suggest they are currently experienced slightly different labor markets. With most of the Augusta MSA being in Georgia, Augusta has been negatively affected by the overall Georgia economy slowing slightly from recent peaks. Employment in Augusta MSA fell in November to 238,300, still 6,000 jobs off the pre-pandemic peak.

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