Construction has been the fastest growing sector in metro Atlanta, surging 8 percent during the past year. (AJC file photo)

Atlanta job numbers expected to be up, echoing U.S. report

If metro Atlanta’s economy parallels the nation’s, then hiring was up last month, albeit at a slower pace than the same time last year.

Friday’s report on U.S. job growth showed the nation added 196,000 positions during March, the government said, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent. So far this year, the economy has added an average of 180,000 jobs a month, down from 233,000 during the last quarter of 2018. Wages rose modestly.

For much of the expansion that began in 2010, Atlanta grew faster than the nation as a whole. But in the past year, Atlanta’s pace has pretty much matched the U.S. growth rate.

Atlanta’s job numbers won’t be out until later in April, but the area’s economy depends on some of the same engines that drive the overall economy.

National hiring was strong in several sectors that are crucial here: education and health care, which has about 362,000 jobs, as well as leisure and hospitality, which accounts for roughly 300,000 jobs.

But several sectors have downshifted nationally.

One sector that has slowed is manufacturing, a significant part of the Atlanta economy. The region has about 174,000 jobs in the sector. Another U.S. sector that was weak last month was the category including logistics and retail, which has more than 600,000 jobs in Atlanta.

The number of temporary staffing positions also dipped nationally. The five core metro counties have more than 67,000.

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