Our most recent update of The Quarter analyzes economic data in metro Atlanta for Q3 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 Q3 2017:

Change in employment by sector: Professional and Business Services has the highest year-over-year change among industry sectors, with a 6.8% year-over-year change from August 2016 to August 2017.   At 4.9%, Information had the 2nd highest year-over-year change.  Manufacturing and Retail sectors experienced the slowest growth, with a 0.2% and 0.1% year-over-year change, respectively, as of August 2017.

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 3.1% in May 2017 to 3.2% in August 2017. In comparison, the U.S. year-over-year change has slightly declined to 1.4% as of August 2017.

Total employment change: In August, Metro Atlanta had an 11.1% change from the pre-recession peak – which is 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 fluctuated, with a height of 3,651 permits in June 2017.  As of August 2017, the number of permits in the region fell to 2,675 (consistent with 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 July 2017 is 139.38. 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 2017 Q2 and 2017 Q3, while office vacancy rates have remained at 12% since 2015 Q4. The number of retail buildings under construction has also decreased between 2017 Q2 and 2017 Q3, from 97 to 83. However, retail vacancy rates have remained steady during the same time period, at 5.7%.

Top Job Postings in metro Atlanta:  In the past 90 days, there have been 8,034 job postings for Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers making it the most in-demand occupation over the last three months. Registered Nurses have had 6,675 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)