Georgia Economy in 2019 Started Strong Due to One-Time Factors

ATLANTA–Strong employment gains during the first quarter of 2019 – particularly in hospitality, retail trade and temp employment – were most likely due to one-off factors, such as hosting Super Bowl LIII on top of other championship games, according to Rajeev Dhawan of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.

“Georgia’s first quarter headline job gains were stellar, but there were one-time factors at play,” Dhawan wrote in his “Forecast of Georgia and Atlanta” released May 22, 2019. “Since there is not another equivalent big event on the horizon, the momentum created is already moderating as evident in April’s job loss numbers, which were concentrated in these hospitality and retail sectors.”

Annual employment benchmarking performed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in March revealed Georgia’s job additions were downgraded from 103,500 in previously reported data to 89,000 in the benchmarked numbers. Analysis also revealed that globally connected sectors (such as corporate, manufacturing and information) showed continued moderation in job growth.

“Job growth moderation in globally connected catalyst sectors will trickle down into domestically demand driven sectors, (retail trade, hospitality) and result in a continuation of moderation of overall employment growth,” Dhawan said.

Metro Atlanta is expected to experience moderation similar to the state overall, according to the forecaster, especially because Atlanta contains most of the state’s Fortune 1000 companies.

“One continuing concern is where to find all the tech jobs we read about in the media,” Dhawan said.

His hypothesis is that some technology jobs are being counted in other sectors.

“Georgia is home to many technology companies in healthcare, particularly in the Atlanta area (GE Healthcare, Intermedix and McKesson Technology Solutions) and finance companies (Global Payments, NCR and TSYS),” Dhawan said. “Tech jobs may be counted in those sectors instead.”

Looking beyond Atlanta, recent job manufacturing announcements have brought positive news. The state announced groundbreaking on the Georgia International Trade Center in Effington County, and Plastics Express, a resins manufacturer, announced two new facilities in Savannah.

Highlights from the Economic Forecasting Center’s Report for Georgia and Atlanta

  • Georgia employment will add 76,600 jobs (14,700 premium jobs) in 2019, 61,700 jobs (11,200 premium) in 2020 and 53,500 (9,700) in 2021.
  • Nominal personal income will grow 4.4 percent in 2019, another 4.9 percent in 2020 and 5.0 percent in 2021.
  • Atlanta will add 54,400 jobs (8,900 premium jobs) in 2019, 40,600 jobs (8,000 premium) in 2020 and 36,300 jobs (7,400 premium) in 2021.
  • Atlanta housing permitting activity will fall 21.2 percent in 2019, decline 8.8 percent in 2020 and fall another 3.5 percent in 2021.