Metro Atlanta Ranks Low in Economic Poll

Credit / Univ. of Georgia

  Of the 102 major areas in the U.S., metro Atlanta’s economy came in 65th place in July, according to a monthly analysis by On Numbers, a business publication.

A new financial poll shows Metro Atlanta is below the Mendoza Line. But WABE's John Lorinc reports there is room for optimism.

Among the factors used in the ranking, employment, weekly earnings for workers and retail expansion for cities with at least 500,000 residents.

Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys, the director of Economic Forecasting at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, says although Georgia is in the bottom half of the survey, things are improving.

“As we speak, we’re growing jobs at about the same pace as the national economy.  I think we’re going probably to out-pace the national economy later this year, and all of next year, but only by a very, very slight margin,” says Humphreys.

The Georgia Department of Labor reports Atlanta’s unemployment rate was 8.2% in May.  That is up more than half-a-point from the previous month, but down from 8.7% in May of 2012.

“Atlanta’s actually going to get hit less hard by that head-wind of restructuring our government sector than the nation as a whole, other parts of Georgia are vulnerable, to the restructuring of the federal government, particularly our military bases communities.”   

Another good sign for Atlanta is a rebound in retail construction.

“It was delayed a little in Georgia because of all the wet weather we’ve had this spring and summer.  So the housing recovery is eventually going to get a lot more traction in Georgia than it is right now.  That’s good news not just for housing, but for Georgia’s manufacturing sector,” says Humphreys.

The researchers at On Numbers place Provo, Utah at the top of the list, saying it has the best local economy in the nation.

Dallas-Fort Worth is in second place, followed by Austin.