The hospitality and hospitality industries in Georgia have not fully recovered, but they saw some of the strongest job gains last month, with 15,200 jobs in June.
“Georgia is still recovering very well,” said Tom Smith, an economist and finance professor at Emory University.
But in the past few weeks, the surge in a more communicable version of the coronavirus has boosted COVID-19 cases and raised new questions about what lies ahead for the economy. Smith suggested that this influenced the decisions of parents, who may wait a few more weeks to find a job before seeing if children switch back to online school classes. “Many are waiting for the other shoe to fall.”
Georgia’s new jobless claims rose slightly last week to 11,157 from 10,783 the previous week. Although this is significantly lower than at the beginning of the pandemic, it is still around twice as high as it was before the virus arrived.
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler highlighted a state job vacancy list that he said is now at least two or three times larger than it was before the virus broke out. There are nearly 200,000 entries, some of which cover multiple jobs, he said.
Many employers are struggling to fill vacancies and “this will likely go on for a few more months,” he said.
To get workers, they will likely have to keep raising wages, which will ultimately lead to higher prices for consumers, he predicted.
Butler said he believes various issues have adversely affected the state’s labor pool, from people retiring earlier than originally planned to dual-job households switching to single earners.
However, the commissioner also stressed that the previous package of federal pandemic-inspired unemployment benefits, including $ 300 a week surcharges, had kept potential workers on the sidelines.
At the same time, a number of Georgia employers have recently increased wages and bonuses to retain or attract new employees.
Wells Fargo economists say Georgia job creation in both June and July was higher than any other month since June 2020.
In a research note on Thursday, they suggested that people are slowly returning to work, in part due to childcare issues and concerns about COVID-19, but that the single biggest factor was the previously expanded federal unemployment benefit they felt after the interest has particularly dampened in “lower paid jobs in contact-intensive services”.
Meanwhile, the pool of jobs in Georgia continues to grow.
On Thursday, the state announced plans for 200 new manufacturing jobs in Fulton County through Advanced Modular Structures, which will convert shipping containers into trade show displays, stores, offices and affordable housing.
The company, which is affiliated with real estate developer The Integral Group, expects to go fully operational this fall in an area on Fulton Industrial Boulevard. Areas such as administration, sales, project management, accounting, marketing, carpentry and welding are aimed for.
Also on Thursday, retail giant Target announced it would hire 150 full-time employees for a new sorting facility in Gwinnett County by 2025. You will work at a 367,000 square foot facility on Riverside Parkway in the Lawrenceville area.