Our most recent update of The Quarter analyzes economic data in metro Atlanta for Q2 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 Q2 2018:

Change in employment by sector: Construction has the highest year-over-year change among industry sectors, with a 7.6% year-over-year change from May 2017 to May 2018.   At 4.2%, Leisure had the 2nd highest year-over-year change.  Finance and Information sectors experienced the slowest growth, with a -0.4% and -8.7% year-over-year change, respectively, as of May 2018.

Metro Atlanta continues to outrank the U.S. in total employment year-over-year change, though just slightly. Metro Atlanta’s economy has experienced slower job growth in 2018 Q2, with a slight decrease in year-over-year employment change from 2.0% in February 2018 to 1.7% in May 2018. In comparison, the U.S. year-over-year change increased to 1.6% as of March 2018 and is holding steady.

Total employment change: In May 2018, Metro Atlanta had a 11.5% change from the pre-recession peak – which is tied with the prior highest pre-recession change in November 2017.

Monthly building permits: Over the last 12 months, monthly building permits in Metro Atlanta have fluctuated, reaching their highest level in May 2018 of 4,120 (well above May 2017’s permit level of 2,676).

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 May 2018 is 144.39. 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 decreased between 2018 Q1 and 2018 Q2, while office vacancy rates have remained at 12% since 2015 Q3. The number of retail buildings under construction has slightly decreased between 2018 Q1 and 2018 Q2, from 97 to 95. Retail vacancy rates have fallen slightly during the same time period, from 5.4% in 2018 Q1 to 5.3% in 2018 Q2.

Top Job Postings in metro Atlanta:  In the past 90 days, there have been 6,620 job postings for Software Developers (Applications) making it the most in-demand occupation over the last three months. Computer Occupations (All Other) have had 6,231 postings, making it the 2nd most in-demand job. Registered Nurses and Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 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)