Atlanta’s economy remains healthy but the pace of job growth has moderated with 42,500 new jobs created over the prior 12-month period ending August 2019, representing a 1.5% annual increase. During the current expansion period, total employment has expanded by 612,000 jobs since its trough in early 2010, which is equivalent to a 27.4% increase over the past 9 years. A significant portion of the annual employment gains were in Leisure & Hospitality (+14,500 jobs), Professional & Business Services (+9,600 jobs), and Education & Health Services (+8,300 jobs). At 3.5%, the unemployment rate is hovering around its lowest point in nearly three decades, and the moderation in growth in both hiring and the labor force suggests that Atlanta is operating beyond full employment. Although job growth has moderated from their strong levels experienced over the past several years, higher labor costs and hardship in finding qualified workers are behind the broad-based slowing. Looking ahead, Georgia State University forecasts 54,400 jobs in 2019, followed by the addition of 40,600 jobs in 2020.
Atlanta remains an economic powerhouse as companies are flocking to the area for its low cost of doing business and proximity to an exceptional talent pool of highly skilled workers created by local universities and a strong workforce. Atlanta’s economic outlook remains positive and makes it one of the best metro areas for companies seeking quality space for relocations and consolidations. As one of the fastest-growing, high-tech urban centers in the nation, Atlanta is leading the way in creating a national center for innovation and industry growth. Recent corporate expansion announcements by ThyssenKrupp, Anthem, Google, Salesforce.com, Starbucks, Accenture and Zillow provide clear evidence of the area’s attractiveness to employers seeking a highly skilled and educated workforce. Most recently, Norfolk Southern Corp. has chosen to relocate its corporate headquarters from Virginia to Midtown Atlanta, bringing with it 850 jobs and more than $500 million in economic investment. In addition, BlackRock has recently leased 132K SF with plans to bring 1,000 jobs to Atlanta by 2024.