Our most recent update of The Quarter analyzes economic data in metro Atlanta for Q2 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 Q2 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 May 2016 to May 2017. At 5.6%, Professional and Business Services had the 2nd highest year-over-year change, just behind Construction.  Manufacturing and Retail sectors experienced the slowest growth, with a 0.2% and 0.1% year-over-year change, respectively, as of May 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 4.1% in March 2017 to 3.1% in May 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 May 2017.

Total employment change: In May, Metro Atlanta had a 10.5% change from the pre-recession peak – which is slightly higher than the prior highest pre-recession change (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 2,536 permits in May 2017.

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 April 2017 is 136.85. 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 absorption totals have increased between 2017 Q1 and 2017 Q2, while office vacancy rates have remained at 12% since 2015 Q4. The number of retail buildings under construction has also decreased between 2017 Q1 and 2017 Q2, from 108 to 81. Retail vacancy rates have slightly decreased during the same time period, from 5.9% to 5.8%.

Top Job Postings in metro Atlanta:  In the past 90 days, there have been 9,488 job postings for Registered Nurses making it the most in-demand occupation over the last three months. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers have had 8,291 postings, making it the 2nd most in-demand job. Software Developers (Applications) 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)