Our most recent update of The Quarter analyzes economic data in metro Atlanta for Q1 2017. The Quarter includes data on employment, home price indices, building permits, retail and office space, and more, with the goal of identifying what areas of our economy are striving and what areas are slower to recover.

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Highlights from Q1 2017:

Change in employment by sector

Construction has maintained the highest year-over-year change among industry sectors, with a 6.9% year-over-year change from February 2016 to February 2017.   At 6.6%, Leisure had the 2nd highest year-over-year change, just behind Construction.  Manufacturing experienced the slowest growth, with a 1.6% year-over-year change as of February 2017.
Metro Atlanta continues to outrank the U.S. in total employment year-over-year change. Despite a slight decrease in year-over-year employment change from 3.7% in January 2017 to 3.6% in February 2017, Metro Atlanta’s economy is showing resiliency. In comparison, the U.S. year-over-year change is holding steady at 1.6% as of February 2017.

Total employment change

In February, Metro Atlanta had a 9.1% change from the pre-recession peak– which is slightly lower than the highest pre-recession change since the pre-recession peak (10.1% in December 2016).

Monthly building permits 

Over the last 12 months, monthly building permits in Metro Atlanta have decreased from a height of 4,231 permits in June 2016 to 2,721 permits in February 2017.

County building permits

Barrow, Coweta, Fayette, and Fulton (excluding City of Atlanta) had fewer building permits in 2016 than they did in 2015. The remaining counties (of the 20) had more permits in 2016. City of Atlanta, Cobb, Forsyth, Fulton (without Atlanta), and Gwinnett have seen the most building permits through December 2016.

Housing market- Atlanta Case-Shiller Index

Atlanta’s most recent Case-Shiller Index is 133.09. When compared to metros in the 20-metro Composite, metro Atlanta ranks 8th in Home Price percentage change since the pre-recession peak.

Office and Retail (CoStar)

Office net absorption totals have decreased between 2016 Q4 and 2017 Q1, while office vacancy rates have remained at 12% since 2016 Q2. The number of retail buildings under construction have also decreased between 2016 Q4 and 2017 Q1, though slightly, from 13 to 11. Retail vacancy rates have also decreased during the same time period, from 6.4% to 5.7%.  

 Top Job Postings in metro Atlanta (Burning Glass data)

In the past 90 days, there have been 10,539 job postings for Heavy Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers making it the most in- demand occupation over the last three months. Registered nurses have had 9,516 postings, making it the 2nd most in- demand job. Software Developers and Sales Representatives, (Wholesale and Manufacturing) postings rank 3rd and 4th in the last 90 days.

Data sources:

  • Employment Change: Year-Over-Year Employment Change Percentage, Annual Percentage Change by Industry Sector (Source: BLS)
  • Employment Rates: Total Employment in thousands (Source: BLS)
  • Building Permits: Monthly Building Permits, Comparison with Top-15 Metros (Source: SOCDS)
  • Housing Market: Case-Shiller Home Price Index for Atlanta, Comparison with Top-20 Metros (Source: Case-Shiller Index)
  • Office and Retail: Office Vacancy Rate, Total Net Absorption of Office Space, Number of Retail Buildings Under Construction (Source: CoStar)
  • Job Postings (Burning Glass Labor Insight)