Atlanta Was #2 in Jobs Growth Among Major Metros in May

Atlanta job snapshot May 15

With so many negative comparisons about Atlanta’s local economy out there (How many more times do we need to see a negative comparison to Nashville and Charlotte?) I figured this was a nice juxtaposition analysis from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Here are a few findings with some of the more interesting visuals.  You can check out the full presentation HERE.  Enjoy!

When it comes to job change and employment, Atlanta performs well when compared to other U.S. metros. It ranked 2nd in relative job change against 12 other metros over the past year.

atlanta job sectors may15

Metro Atlanta exceeded its pre-recession employment peak in May 2014, finally digging out of the hole the Great Recession wrought.

total employment atl may15

Atlanta’s World Class

If you were silly enough to judge Atlanta based solely on the opinion of the internet’s generally rambling, slightly paranoid and snarky conscientiousness, you’d be apt to think the city was on the verge of collapse;  that at any moment, the city’s vital signs would flat-line as the highways clogged like a ephemeral artery, the populous suffocated from a general lack of art and culture, the 30 Deep gang was discovered to actually be a front for Charlotte transit advocates.

Well, Atlanta’s got some news for us.  For all its modern day problems, it’s still one of nation’s top world cities according to the Globalization and World Cities Study Group’s 2008 study – which I came across on Wikipedia – which ranks “world cities” based on the proliferation of “advanced producer services” such as accountancy, advertising, finance, and law.

In fact, only New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles (all “Alpha” cities) rank above it, when viewed this way.  (See the full chart after the jump.)

So, while I’m not encouraging us to pat ourselves on the back into extinction, I do believe we shouldn’t let the city’s weaknesses completely overshadow the city’s continuing prowess and potential.

Continue reading “Atlanta’s World Class”

Harvard Economics Prof Says “Don’t Count Atlanta Out”

There’s a new post on the New York Times’ Economix blog by Harward Economics professor, Edward Glaeser, which gives a concise overview of Atlanta’s economic history and weighs in on the city’s future.

Though Atlanta has higher-than average unemployment and is suffering from the real estate market coma, Glaeser is still putting his chips on the ATL.

Yet there are three key reasons to think that Atlanta will weather this storm and continue to thrive.

First, Atlanta benefits from the fact that it is the dominant agglomeration in the region. The continuing vitality of large cities is a remarkable feature of our age and Atlanta benefits from that fact.

Atlanta also benefits from its business-friendly politics, which will continue to attract plenty of companies.

Finally, Atlanta also benefits from being highly skilled — something that outsiders too often forget.

Nearly 43 percent of adults in the city of Atlanta have college degrees, as opposed to 27 percent in the nation as a whole, and 41 percent in Boston. The figure is even higher in surrounding Fulton County.

Skills have long led to urban success, especially when mixed with large urban size.

Smart money never bets against the ability of a huge concentration of smart people to weather an economic storm. Don’t count Atlanta out.

h/t: Terminal Station

Factoid Thursday

Today’s interesting fact comes straight from an AJC article predicting nothing resembling sunshine for GA’s economy over the next two years.

“Georgia has about 3.9 million jobs, nearly 60 percent in metro Atlanta.”

Hopefully our state legislature can keep this “60%” number in mind when its doling out federal stimulus money.  This ain’t time to overdo the favors to other, redder areas the state.  You need to keep Atlanta healthy and vibrant, otherwise GA can just go back to being Alabama.

As Atlanta Goes…

As we’ve reiterated many times when speculating the future value of our city’s real estate, Decatur’s economic future is indelibly linked to that of its bigger, younger sister (see Marthasville) to the west.  Though many, many thanks must be given to Decatur officials, staff and residents, who had the foresight to implement smart growth concepts well before they were en vogue, even they would probably admit that it also had a lot to do with good timing.  While Decatur implemented a new strategy that valued its downtown instead of destroying it, the city of Atlanta came into its hey-day.

But what now?  How will our big sis fare in this economic downtown?

These questions were top-of-mind as I devoured  The Atlantic’s March cover story “How the Crash Will Reshape America“, written by American Urban Studies theorist Richard Florida.  Florida is big on the “creative class”, focusing on how concentrations of well-educated, creative folks (aka “talant-clusters”) drive city economies.  Unlike Friedman’s world is flat-theory, Florida, like many other urban theorists, believe that the easy accessibility of info of the 21st century is not be a death-knell to cities.  Instead, these mega-regions continue to remain vitality important in helping the U.S. compete with the rest of the world.

In examining our cities’ ability to weather this deep recession, Florida predicts big trouble for economies with a local economies that are heavy in the financials or industrials.  While giving a pass to NYC on financials because it is the center of the world economy, Florida writes the obit for dirty industry Detriot and real-estate dependent Las Vegas and Pheonix.

But when it comes to Atlanta, Florida only makes a passing mention when rattling off mega-regions:  I believe he calls it “Char-lanta.”  And while Charlotte gets a later mention for being a thriving research banking capital, Atlanta receives no other mention; pro or con.

So is that a good thing or a bad thing? Continue reading “As Atlanta Goes…”