Our most recent update of The Quarter analyzes economic data in metro Atlanta for Q1 2018. 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 2018:

Change in employment by sector: Construction has the highest year-over-year change among industry sectors, with a 4.9% year-over-year change from February 2017 to February 2018.   At 4.0%, Leisure had the 2nd highest year-over-year change.  Finance and Information sectors experienced the slowest growth, with a 0.5% and -7.0% year-over-year change, respectively, as of February 2018.

Metro Atlanta continues to outrank the U.S. in total employment year-over-year change. Metro Atlanta’s economy is showing resiliency, with a slight increase in year-over-year employment change from 1.6% in December 2017 to 2.0% in February 2018. In comparison, the U.S. year-over-year change has increased to 1.6% as of February 2018.

Total employment change: In February, Metro Atlanta had a 10.0% change from the pre-recession peak – which is lower than the prior highest pre-recession change (11.5% in November 2017).

Monthly building permits: Over the last 12 months, monthly building permits in Metro Atlanta have fluctuated, with a height of 3,651 permits in June 2017.  As of February 2018, the number of permits in the region fell to 2,616 (slightly lower than last year’s level).

County building permits: Barrow, Coweta, and Fayette counties 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 from January 2018 is 141.49. When compared to the other metros in the 20-metro Composite, metro Atlanta ranks 7th in Home Price percentage change since the pre-recession peak.

Office and Retail (CoStar): Office net absorption totals have increased between 2017 Q4 and 2018 Q1, while office vacancy rates have remained at 12% since 2015 Q3. The number of retail buildings under construction has decreased between 2017 Q4 and 2018 Q1, from 103 to 90. Retail vacancy rates have fallen slightly during the same time period, from 5.4% in 2017 Q4 to 5.2% in 2018 Q1.

Top Job Postings in metro Atlanta:  In the past 90 days, there have been 6,627 job postings for Registered Nurses making it the most in-demand occupation over the last three months. Software Developers (Applications) have had 6,478 postings, making it the 2nd most in-demand job. Computer Occupations (All Other) 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)