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ARC Regional Snapshot: Economy Growing, but Not Everyone Enjoying the Boom

Posted on: Jan 25, 2018

By Mike Carnathan, Group Manager, Research and Analytics

The good news first: Metro Atlanta’s economy is doing well overall, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s latest Regional Snapshot. But the picture isn’t rosy for everyone.

Here are some highlights:

  • When it comes to job growth, metro Atlanta continues to lead nationally.
    For the past five years, the region’s employment growth rate has outpaced the nation’s. However, that growth has slowed since mid-2017.


  • Atlanta region’s GDP grew at fastest rate east of the Mississippi.
    3.7 percent to be exact, between Sept. 2016 and 2017. The 29-county metro region’s GDP grew by nearly 19 percent in the six years following the Great Recession, 2010-2016—about on par with the rest of the national economy.


  • We’re adding lots of high-paying jobs. But we’re adding fewer jobs in other sectors.

    Metro Atlanta’s strongest employment growth was found in high-paying professional/business and information sectors, significantly outpacing national growth, at 6.2% and 4.2% respectively. (“Information” includes much of the region’s booming film industry.) However, growth has not been as strong in lower-paying sectors. Manufacturing saw a decline of 0.7%, and Retail saw a decline of 1%.


  • Metro Atlanta’s average wage is higher than the nation as a whole. But pay for lower-wage occupations in our region is below the national average.
    Financial managers make on average 52 cents an hour more in the Atlanta region than in the rest of the country. But retail cashiers make an average of 80 cents less.


  • Metro Atlanta home prices have exceeded the peak they reached before the Great Recession.
    However, metro Atlanta’s average home prices are still lower than the average prices in the other 20 largest metros.


  • The region still has high levels of distressed housing.
    Atlanta ranks fourth out of the 20 largest markets in the percentage of homes with negative equity—that is, to say, the owners owe more on a mortgage than what it’s worth. Only Chicago, St. Louis, and Baltimore have larger shares of homes with negative equity.

Find more details, complete with graphs and other visuals over at 33n, our regional data blog which regularly shares research about the metro Atlanta Region.