Rausch has been the business editor since September 2008, previously serving as senior business reporter. He joined the Chronicle in April 2007. He has written for newspapers in Napoleon, Ohio, Moline, Ill., and Lima, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University (1992). In 2006, he received a second place award in business writing from the Association Press in Ohio.
Posted February 9, 2012 01:04 pm

Full job recovery three years away

A full job recovery in Augusta is two or three years away if you believe a report from the nation’s mayor’s council.

Augusta, like Atlanta, Savannah and Columbus, are predicted to recover back to peak employment between 2014 and 2015, which is the soonest any metro areas in Georgia will do so.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ forecast calls for all 363 metro area to have job growth this year.

For 80 of those city area, it will take five years to get back what was lost in the Great Recession.

Augusta isn’t one of those.

The conference of mayors got its numbers from IHS Global Insight. In its charts, though I’m not sure where the numbers come from, it says Augusta’s peak job level before the recession was 217,200. The trough was 207,800.

And according to IHS, there will be 210,600 jobs by the end of this year, which is a recovery of 29 percent of what was lost in the recession.

Now, my numbers, which come from the Georgia Department of Labor, show the six-county area had 245,400 jobs in April 2008, which is the peak just prior to the recession – albeit a Masters-infused high.

By September 2009, the number of people with work fell to 234,225.

It was in the 235,000 to 236,000 range for most of 2010.

Then in 2011, there were some months in the 237,000s.

So getting back to the peak, whether mine or theirs, needs the addition of 7,000 to 9,000 jobs.


UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: Heard some criticism of the national unemployment rate dropping because there were fewer people looking for work, not necessarily because the ecomony is better. Got me thinking about the local numbers.

The current workforce in the Augusta-Aiken metro area is 259,136 as reported by the Georgia Department of Labor, which combines the Georgia and South Carolina numbers every month. That’s for December, which is the latest one out. It is practically the same as it was in December 2010 – there were 92 more people in the workforce then.

It is about 800 lower than November, which kicked up the unempoyment percentage from 8.7 to 8.9.

The workforce is the number of people who want to work, even if they don’t have a job at the moment. It is based on a phone survey, so the department of labor is guessing through the use of a statistical model. (They didn’t talk to to 260,000 people.)

Carrying on the Decembers for the six-county Augusta metro: 2009 had a workforce of 260,820; 2008 had a workforce of 260,671.

The lowest point for Augusta was in February 2008, prior to the recession, where only 253,679 people wanted jobs.


IN THE “I DIDN’T KNOW THAT” FILE: You can get a $10,000 tax credit for adopting a U.S. child with special needs from foster care.

Children who receive adoption assistance/subsidy benefits are considered children with special needs. Even families who receive a deferred subsidy ($0 per month but medical coverage through the subsidy program) are eligible.

All adoptive families (except those who adopted a step-child) are eligible for the credit, but those who adopt children other than those with special needs must have — and be able to document, if requested by the IRS — qualified adoption expenses