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

Visit The Quarter interactive dashboard

Highlights from Q3 2018:

Change in employment by sector: Construction has the highest year-over-year change among industry sectors, with a 9.6% year-over-year change from September 2017 to September 2018.   At 4.4%, Education & Health Services had the 2nd highest year-over-year change.  Information and Finance sectors experienced the slowest growth, with a -0.5% and -1.3% year-over-year change, respectively, as of September 2018.

Metro Atlanta continues to outrank the U.S. in total employment year-over-year change. Metro Atlanta’s economy is showing resiliency, with an increase in year-over-year employment change from 1.8% in May 2018 to 2.4% in September 2018. In comparison, the U.S. year-over-year change has increased slightly to 1.7% as of September 2018.

Total employment change: In September 2018, Metro Atlanta had a 13.0% change from the pre-recession peak – which is the highest change from the pre-recession peak to date.

Monthly building permits: Over the last 12 months, monthly building permits in Metro Atlanta have fluctuated, dropping from 4,124 in May 2018 to 2,589 in September 2018. (slightly below September 2017’s permit level of 2,697).

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 September 2018 is 148.23. 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 Q2 and 2018 Q3, while office vacancy rates have remained stable, hovering around 12% since 2015 Q3. The number of retail buildings under construction has decreased between 2018 Q2 and 2018 Q3, from 131 to 107. Retail vacancy rates have similarly remained stable, holding steady around 5% since Q3 2017.

Top Job Postings in metro Atlanta:  In the past 90 days, there have been 6,987 job postings for Software Developers (Applications) making it the most in-demand occupation over the last three months. Registered Nurses have had 6,350 postings, making it the 2nd most in-demand job. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers postings and Sales Representatives (Wholesale & Manufacturing, except Technical & Scientific Products) 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)