Our most recent update of The Quarter analyzes economic data in metro Atlanta for Q1 2019. 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 2019:

Change in employment by sector: Construction and Wholesale Trade sectors have the highest year-over-year change among industry sectors, both with a 6.2% year-over-year change from March 2018 to March 2019. Information experienced the slowest growth, with a -2.6% year-over-year change in March 2019.

Metro Atlanta continues to outrank the U.S. in total employment year-over-year change. Metro Atlanta’s economy remains positive and with a year-over-year employment change of 2.2% from March 2018 to March 2019. In comparison, the U.S. year-over-year change remains steady this quarter fluctuating just 0.2 percentage points and landing at 1.7% for March 2019.

Total employment change: In March 2019, Metro Atlanta employment change was up 13% from the pre-recession peak — continuing on an upward growth trajectory after a slight dip in the beginning of the year.

Monthly building permits: Over the last 12 months, monthly building permits in Metro Atlanta have fluctuated, dropping from 4,237 in March 2018 to a low of 2,083 in December 2018 before climbing back up in Q1 2019 (March 2019 permit levels were nearly 1,500 permits less than those of 2018).

County building permits: City of Atlanta, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Forsyth, Gwinnett, and Hall counties had fewer building permits in 2017 than they did in 2016. The remaining counties (of the 20) had more permits in 2017. City of Atlanta, Cherokee, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton (without Atlanta), and Gwinnett have seen the most building permits through December 2017.

Housing market – Atlanta Case-Shiller Index: Atlanta’s most recent Case-Shiller Index from February 2019 is 148.75. When compared to the other 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 absorbtion totals have decreased between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, while office vacancy rates have remained stable, hovering around 11.5% since Q4 2015. The number of retail buildings under construction has remained stable between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, from 125 to 124. Meanwhile, retail vacancy rates have continued to slowly decrease, from 5.2% to 4.8% over the last year.

Top Job Postings in metro Atlanta:  In Q1 2019, there were 8,525 job postings for Software Developers (Applications) making it the most in-demand occupation over the last three months. Sales Representatives (Wholesale & Manufacturing, except Technical & Scientific Products) had 6,309 postings, making it the 2nd most in-demand job. Registered Nurses and Managers (All Other) postings ranked 3rd and 4th.

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)