AJC’s hard look at job losses: 2016 before Savannah reaches 2007 levels

If you ignore it, it will go away.

Or maybe:

If you blame everything on the federal government, you won’t have to take any responsibility.

Those seemed to be the prevailing strategies of Georgia leaders as the recession pummeled the state’s job market. Too often, the state media bought and repackaged the pablum being served up.

So it’s good to see the AJC look closely (even if they completely leave out the last name of Rajeev Dhawan, a leading state economist) at some job loss numbers with “Jobs to return to Atlanta by 2014, report says”. The piece uses data from a report prepared for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. This is just about the number of jobs in a metro area, not the unemployment rate.

Among the conclusions:

The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro market, the report showed, reached its pre-recession employment peak in the third quarter of 2007, then lost 218,000 jobs, for an 8.9 percent decline. Projections are employment won’t fully recover until the fourth quarter of 2014.

Atlanta’s decline was more severe than all but a handful of the biggest cities: Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Detroit and Miami. On average, metro areas nationwide experienced a 6.2 percent employment decline since the pre-recession peak, with recovery projected by the second quarter of 2014.

Some points of comparison:

● Pittsburgh: Lost 3.3 percent of its jobs during the recession; expected to rebound early next year.

● Houston: Lost 4.1 percent of its jobs; should recover by the end of this year.

● Washington: Lost 2.5 percent of its jobs; could recover as early as the third quarter of this year.

● Metro Atlanta: Lost 8.9 percent of its jobs; won’t fully recover until the end of 2014 – at the earliest.

The Savannah metro area hit its pre-recession peak of employment in the second quarter of 2007, and — according to the piece — is not expected to reach that peak again until the first quarter of 2016.

I’ll have more to say about this in an upcoming post or column.