Population, Employment, and Income Trends for Georgia and Atlanta

Over the past 50 years, Georgia has enjoyed remarkable growth of population, employment, and income, but since the mid-1990s the state has seen a decrease in the growth rates of employment and income relative to the U.S.  Interestingly, Georgia’s rates began to fall relative to the U.S. well before the Great Recession of 2007-2009.  In a report (FRC Report No. 263) from Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center, Economics Professor and Dan Sweat Chair David L. Sjoquist explores the volatility in the Georgia and Atlanta population, employment, and income growth rates over the past several decades in order to gain a better understanding of what Georgia’s economic growth might be going forward.  Some key findings, include:

Until 1996, average per capita income in Georgia increased nearly continuously relative to that for the U.S., peaking at 95.5 percent of the U.S level.  After 1996, relative income declined, and by 2012, the ratio had fallen to 86.4 percent.  A similar pattern of income growth volatility can be seen for Atlanta.  Also, between 1990 and 2011, the share of employment in industries paying the lowest wages increased while the share of employment in higher wage industries decreased for the same period.  For the full report, click here.