Blog

Armstrong’s Coastal Empire Economic Monitor summed up Q3 with this assessment and forecast:

“the coincident index of economic activity suggests that Savannah’s economy leveled off during the third quarter. In some ways, this is an artifact of the data in which it was difficult to sustain the exceptionally high previous growth rates in port activity and tourism. In that sense, it is less troubling, especially given the positive momentum in total employment growth and the continued increase in the forecasting index that maintained its signal of continued economic growth for the region. As it stands, expect continued expansion in the Savannah metro economy through mid-2016, perhaps with some moderation in growth as compared to the previous year”

The Savannah economy slowed down somewhat in Quarter 3, at least compared to previous growth rates. But, is his a big concern? Michael Toma’s forecasting mode, says not really. His optimism is spurred by the fact that the Leading Index which gauges future economic activity is still trending upward.

Good News for Q3

On the bright side, Savannah’s economy saw solid gains in total employment and consumer confidence. However, port activity, retails sales, and plane boardings trended down, which has not been the case of late. Electricity sales held steady, as did hotel sales, but the net effect of these trends kept the Coincident Index (which measures current economic activity) flat.

Savannah’s Economic Expectations Tempered Some

Even though the Coastal Empire leading economic index did rise, it did so at a “a slightly slower pace than the second quarter.” This caused the Economic Monitor to downgrade earlier projections a bit. However, the Coastal Empire’s economy should still end the year on a positive note. Bottom line: Savannah’s economy should keep growing into the mid-point of 216, but a little less than what was originally expected.

Coastal Empire Economic Growth Q3-2015

“The Coastal Empire coincident economic index was level, holding steady at 171.8 (see chart). After averaging a 1.3% annual pace for the previous three quarters, growth slowed to zero in the third quarter. Growth in total employment provided most of the lift to the index, while increases in consumer confidence in the south Atlantic states also played a supporting role. However, seasonally adjusted retail sales did not rise with consumer confidence, and in fact, fell about 10% from the previous quarter and remain 4.7% below year-ago sales, after adjusting for inflation.” – Economic Monitor

Why Port Activity Slowed Down 

Port activity which had been a primary driver of Savannah’s economic growth underwent some important changes in Q3. Labor issues on the west coast, which had redirected more cargo to the east coast began to trend back to norms following the passing of a labor agreement. Before the west coast labor strife, the market share was 4-to-3 in favor of the west. During the labor impasse, it evened out,  but now is moving back to more historical norms.

Asia and Europe’s economic woes also impacted our port activity, pushing cargo down 5.5% (seasonally adjusted). However, Savannah’s port activity is still up 7.4% for the year, after topping out at 26% in April of 2015.  Despite, the ups and downs, Savannah’s ports remain on a “on a longer term sustainable trajectory,” which is good news for the area economy.

Savannah Area Jobs Increase by 1,500

Savannah”s metro area (including Chatham, Bryan and Effingham) added 1,500 jobs and averaged 171,500 for Q3. During the last 12 months, employment has increased 3%, which is lower than the  4% growth rate at the close of 2014. However, the jobs picture is outpacing the long-term average of 1.6% since 1990.

Business and professional service jobs gained the most, gaining 500 jobs. The sector has climbed 15% over the last year. It now stands, third behind Savannah’s leading job producers leisure/hospitality and education/health. Retail jobs rose by 400 workers, while local government gained 300 jobs. Tourism jobs stayed the same. Manufacturers gained 300 jobs, construction jobs continued to trend downward, dropping 100 jobs.

– Lisa Yannett

Need to Hire New Employees? Let Us Take Care of All the Headaches

Call Horizon at 912-355-5966 and find out how we make hiring easy. We take care of all the details — recruiting, taking applications, interviewing, screening, etc. on the front end AND all the paperwork and compliance on the backend. We have qualified candidates ready to start ASAP!

Need a Job?

We make it easy to find the job you want and submit your application. Check out current job listing here or go here to complete an application.

The Savannah metro area, which includes Chatham, Bryan and Effingham counties, saw its unemployment rate drop to 4.9 percent in November. This was its lowest level since May of 2008. It stood at 6.1 percent last November and 5.3 percent in October of 2015.

Initial unemployment insurance claims for Savannah dropped 3.9 percent, from 847 to 819. However, the number of unemployment insurance claims did rise 2.8 percent from October of 2015. Many of the new claims came from those working in administrative an support services.

Savannah was the only metro area in Georgia that had it’s unemployment claims go down from November of 2014 to November of 2015.

Savannah Jobs Increase by Nearly 174,000

The Georgia Department of Labor also revealed that the Savannah metro area had a total of 173,900 non-farm payroll jobs in November. This was 2.4 percent increase from the 169,900 jobs in November 2014. The key finding is that the rate of jobs are increasing faster than the area’s population.

During the year, Savannah added 4,000 new jobs. Professional and business services led the way, gaining 2,400 jobs, followed by retail trade, transportation and warehousing. Manufacturers added 700 jobs. These additions offset the 1.6 percent decline in leisure and hospitality jobs. Government employment remained flat.

Georgia Jobs

Metro Gainesville led Georgia with a jobless rate of 4.2 percent and the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region suffered the highest at 6.8 percent.

Georgia’s overall seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for November fell slightly from 5.7 percent to 5.6 percent. The rate was 6.7 percent in November of 2014. Over the year, Georgia gained 93,000, which is a 2.2 percent job increase, besting the national average.

Unemployed? Need a New Job? We Can Help!

Simply fill out our online application and you could be on your way to finding a new job. We have temporary and permanent positions. Check out available jobs here. Also, feel free to call us at 912-355-5966 or come by our Savannah office,  Tuesdays or Thursdays from 9am to 11am.

Need Workers?

Is you business growing? Do you need workers to meet the demand? Call us now and we can help you find qualifies candidates FAST. Plus, we take care of all the hiring hassles, including taking applications, interviewing, screening, and tax and payroll setup. Call me at 912-355-5966 to get started.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 11.59.23 AMUS economists expected moderate job growth in December of 2015, but instead the US economy roared ahead, adding 292,000 jobs for the month. The unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent.

Over the course of 2015, the US economy added 221,000, on average, per month. While this is a drop from 2014, when jobs grew at an average rate of 260,000 non-farm jobs per month, it still marks one of the better years for job additions in the last 16 years.

The October jobs report was also revised upwards, making it an even better month for job gains than it once appeared, as 307,000 jobs were added. This made October the strongest month for job growth in 2015. November job gains also went up according to recent revisions. That means 50,000 more jobs were added than was initially thought. And that makes Q4 (October, November and December) the best 3-month run for job gains in 2015.

Need a job? Check out our job openings here. 

Unemployment Rate Stays at 5%

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 11.59.35 AM

 

As mentioned above, the unemployment rate remained flat, coming in at 5 percent. Many economists think it will stay around that level for the foreseeable future. The U.S. unemployment rate has not fallen below 5 percent since 2007.

Wages Stay Low

Unfortunately for some workers, wages did not see much improvement. Average hourly earnings increased by 2.5 percent,but the Fed says 3.5 percent is the optimum target level.  Fed officials and economists had hoped that a tighter labor market would raise wages closer to that level.

Labor-Force Participation Stays Low 

The Labor-force participation (which measures the percentage of the labor force that is actually employed or looking for employment) ticked up slightly, but it still stands at its lowest level (62.6%) since since 1977. There are also a lot of workers who have taken part-time positions because they couldn’t find full-time jobs.

Summing It Up

Job increases and the unemployment rate signal that the economy is moving in the right direction. But rising wages, greater labor force participation, and more full-time employees in 2016, would indicate the economy is transitioning from a “tentative” recovery to a more robust and long-lasting one.

-Lisa Yannett

Need to Hire New Employees? Let Us Take Care of All the Headaches

Call Horizon at 912-355-5966 and find out how we make hiring easy. We take care of all the details — recruiting, taking applications, interviewing, screening, etc. on the front end AND all the paperwork and compliance on the backend. We have qualified candidates ready to start ASAP!