Local
5:08 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Metro Atlanta Unemployment at Eight Percent

The jobless rate in metro Atlanta dropped to eight-percent in November, according to figures released Thursday by the Georgia Dept. of Labor.

Credit Ga. Department of Labor

That’s slightly better than October, and almost a full percentage point better than November of last year.

Education, healthcare, and business services lead local job growth, says Mercer University’s Roger Tutterow.

But, he says, other areas have under-performed.

Really, the two sectors that are lagging a little bit are both the construction sector and financial services, both of which typically perform pretty well statewide, and particularly here in metro Atlanta.”

Tutterow says jobs are slowly coming back to the metro area, and the pace will pick up somewhat in 2013.

While eight-percent unemployment sounds like a favorable trend for the region, it might not tell the whole story. 

Why?

The frustrated and underemployed.

At the federal level, it’s known about how many people get fed up and stop looking for a job. 

And we also get a sense of how many jobs are part-time and seasonal. 

“Does Georgia have that same sort of pattern, which would make you a little bit less optimistic about [the unemployment rate] than you otherwise would be?” questions Raymond Hill, who teaches finance and economics at Emory University.   

It turns out we don’t know how many Georgians give up the job hunt each month.

And, In Georgia, a job’s a job.  The figures don’t indicate whether it’s a part-time, seasonal or full-time job.

Hill says there’s reason to be optimistic about the current slide in unemployment, but it’s not necessarily the best indicator of local economic health.