July is typically a down month for jobs. Hiring usually doesn’t pick up until school starts again, which means jobs -- including teachers, subs, custodians, coaches and bus drivers.
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images/For the AJC
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images/For the AJC

Metro Atlanta loses jobs in July, biggest loss in five years

If this were a football game, you’d say this team had started the third quarter very badly: the metro Atlanta economy lost 16,700 jobs in July, although the unemployment rate held steady at 4.8 percent, the state Labor Department reported Thursday. 

And while the economy is typically weak during the month, this was the worst July since 2012, as the metro economy shed more than twice as many jobs as an average July.

The number of people in the workforce usually rises in July -- partly because of recent graduates. Moreover, many school employees are still out of work.

And the unemployment rate is a ratio -- unemployed job seekers as a portion of the total number of people either working or searching.

However, mid-summer is not the time most companies are looking to hire, so the jobless rate rises.

On the plus side, the economy has added more than a half-million jobs since hitting bottom in late 2009. But the economic road through 2017 has been bumpy.

There have been some very good months but also a couple bad ones. The year to date, the economy has added just 7,000 jobs. At the seven-month marker last year, the economy had added 12,000 jobs.

So returning to the football analogy, this team better finish the third and fourth quarters strong.  

But this is a squad that has come back in the second half before. For example, during the first seven months of 2012, the economy was actually in the red for job growth and it came back with a pretty good second half. 

In general, if the Atlanta economic engine is humming, it really kicks into gear after school goes back into session. Last year, the economy added 78,300 jobs from August through December.

STORY AND SHORT VIDEO: What’s going on with unemployment and hiring in Georgia.

About 140,000 people in metro Atlanta are counted as unemployed – that is, they are out of work and also looking for a job. That is more than at the start of the recession, but compare it to seven years ago when the region started the year with 295,009 unemployed. 

On the other hand, roughly 30 percent of the jobless have been looking for more than six months.

According to the Labor Department, the sectors that grew included: corporate jobs, leisure and hospitality, financial services and manufacturing.

According to the Labor Department, there were losses in construction, trade, transportation and utilities, and government.

It’s hard to see precisely, but it does look like Atlanta retail jobs are under pressure from automation, online ordering and what might have been overly enthusiastic expansion in the past.  


Metro Atlanta, July unemployment rate, percent

2007      4.8

2008      6.4

2009    10.5

2010    10.4

2011    10.3

2012       9.3

2013       8.3

2014       7.6

2015       6.1

2016       5.4

2017       4.8


Metro Atlanta, job change, July

2007    -4,300

2008    -23,700

2009    -22,800

2010     -7,300

2011     -5,600

2012    -17,300

2013     -7,600

2014     -1,500

2015     -8,100

2016     -8,200

2017     -16,700


Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia Department of Labor 



AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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