Jobs rebound to all-time high in Ga., pre-pandemic level in S.C.

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Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 12:00 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - Employment stats are looking good on both sides of the Savannah River, with job numbers at an all-time high in Georgia and surpassing pre-pandemic levels in South Carolina.

In Georgia

Georgia’s unemployment rate was 2.8 percent for the second consecutive month in Augusta while job numbers reached another all-time high, increasing almost 16,000 from July, officials said Thursday.

Georgia’s unemployment rate was nine-tenths of a percent lower than the national August 2022 unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.

Job numbers increased 15,800 from July to August to an all-time high of 4.82 million. Job gains included opportunities in these sectors: educational services, 3,200; professional, scientific and technical services, 3,000; specialty trade contractors, 2,200; local government, 1,700; durable goods manufacturing, 1,200; transportation and warehousing, 1,000; and health care, 1,000.

Job numbers were at an all-time high in trade and transportation, 1.02 million, including the retail trade, wholesale trade and transportation and warehousing sectors; in professional and business services, 790,700, including the professional, scientific and technical services sectors; and in education and health services, 634,300, including the health care and social assistance sectors.

The sectors with the most over-the-year job gains included accommodation and food services, 32,700; professional, scientific and technical services, 23,400; administrative and support services, 23,000; transportation and warehousing, 20,200; retail trade, 19,800; health care and social assistance, 19,400; and wholesale trade, 15,400.

For the first time this year, Georgia saw a drop in the number of employed residents of 6,256 to 5.13 million in August. The labor force was down 6,784 for the second consecutive month to 5,278,905. The number of unemployed was down 528 to 149,650, the lowest figure since January 2001′s number of 147,077.

Employers with over 1,000 job postings included Amazon, 2,000, Emory Healthcare, 1,400, Walmart, 1,200, Elevance Health, 1,200, Emory University, 1,000, and Home Depot, 1,000. 

In South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says small businesses are leading the economic recovery from COVID-19 in the state.

The agency says jobs statewide were up in the first quarter, rising to 2.13 million compared to the pre-pandemic 2.11 million of 2020. This information does not include self-employed contract workers, federal employees, or people in exempt industries that do not pay unemployment taxes to the state.

Average weekly wages for workers increased by 13% from $921 to $1,042. the agency said.

Recovery was propelled in large measure by small businesses, the agency said; the number of establishments statewide shot up 15 percent over two years, from 142,721 to 164,390.

Across the state’s 46 counties, 17 have more workers than 2020, and 29 have fewer. The largest increases were in Greenville, 4,886, and Lexington with 3,914. Richland County saw the largest decline in workers, losing 3,487.

“These new figures confirm that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been uneven but robust,” said Dr. Bryan Grady, labor market information director at the agency.

“While prior recessions required years of recovery to regain the jobs lost, both in South Carolina and nationally, that has not the case this time,” Grady said.

The data was reported on 20 economic sectors. Half saw an increase in jobs and half saw a decrease compared to 2020. The largest growth sectors were professional, scientific, technical services, transportation and warehousing.

The areas with the most job decreases were the accommodation and food service industries. The agency said this is in part because they’ve struggled to hire the workers needed to return to pre-pandemic numbers. Officials said all job sectors have seen a wage increase compared to 2020.

“Employers are hiring South Carolinians at a rapid pace, but we know that, as a state, we can always do better,” said Dan Ellzey, executive director at the agency.