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Atlanta Posts Strongest Month for Employment Growth Since Last Summer

Office-Using Industries Power Market's Job Gains

By David Kahn CoStar Analytics July 19, 2021 | 4:02 P.M.

The Atlanta region added roughly 38,500 total jobs in June, representing the best month for employment gains since last August.

Atlanta has gained back nearly 300,000 of the jobs lost in the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic, and total employment now sits about 80,000 jobs below the region’s pre-pandemic peak, set in February 2020. The region is benefiting from a dramatically improving public health situation, a strengthening national economy and a bevvy of major corporations starting to staff up their offices.

Office-using employment industries, such as the professional and business services sector, drove a large portion of the June job gains. In fact, the roughly 15,000 professional and business services jobs added last month represent the strongest monthly gain for the sector over the past decade, by far. Only February 2011 and March 2014 even came close, with just over 10,000 new jobs in those months.

Professional and business services employment in Atlanta is only about 2,000 jobs shy of the market’s pre-pandemic peak, indicating that nearly all of the office-using jobs lost in the early months of the pandemic have been regained. The other office-using sectors of information and financial activities added a combined 1,000 jobs last month.

Improvement in Atlanta’s office-using employment sectors is enhanced by the influx of major corporate relocations and expansions. Microsoft and Norfolk Southern are in the process of establishing their new employment hubs in midtown, while Deluxe Corp., Thyssenkrupp and Papa John’s are all hiring for their new locations in Atlanta’s inner-ring suburbs.

Other sectors posting significant job gains last month include trade, transportation and utilities and leisure and hospitality, with both industries adding nearly 8,000 new jobs last month. Atlanta’s booming industrial market is boosting the trade and transportation sector, while the dramatically improved public health situation is driving an increase in restaurant and hotel activity.

Total employment in Atlanta is still about 3% below the February 2020 figure. This compares favorably to the nation as a whole, as the U.S. employment is about 4.5% below the pre-pandemic February 2020 peak.

While Atlanta’s relatively strong performance is a positive sign for the region’s economic recovery, these figures also indicate that there is still plenty of room to grow before the market approaches full employment. Atlanta will likely benefit from increased hiring in office-using, industrial and leisure sectors in the coming months, as the public health situation improves further and the current economic recovery endures.

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