Augusta Business Daily

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Simon Says: State labor market outperformed local #s

Last week, I reported that the Labor Market Index (LMI) for the Augusta Metropolitan Statistical area had declined for three consecutive months through December 2022. It does, however, remain just above its level a year ago.

The local labor market has not performed as well as the Georgia Labor market, which has improved by 1.6 percent over the last year. Strong growth was seen in Athens, Atlanta, Columbus, and Savannah. Three metro areas saw their labor market deteriorate over the last year (see graph).

Georgia added 165,000 jobs in 2021, of which 128,000 were in Atlanta. Augusta contributed 5,000 new jobs, Athens 4,500, and Savannah 5,300. Although employment in Athens and Savannah increased by a similar amount to Augusta, because their total employment levels are lower the percentage gain in Athens is 4.5% and 2.7% for Savannah, compared to 2.2% in Augusta. Employment growth in the state over the last year was 3.5%.

Even two of the three metro areas that saw a decline in the LMI saw increasing employment levels. Rome added 1,400 jobs and Gainesville 1,500. Hinesville saw no change. What dragged down their LMI was falling earnings, all three metro areas saw average weekly earnings about $120 lower in December 2022 than in 2021. Part of the reason may be shorter hours worked in all three metro areas, working on average three to five hours less in December 2022 than a year earlier.

More Posts