Strategic Advocacy Manager, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Director, Global Employment Policy & Special Initiatives, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Graphic Designer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
September 15, 2023
The state of Georgia has a favorable landscape for businesses and individuals, with a diverse economy, strong labor market recovery, and a robust small business ecosystem. Immigrants contribute meaningfully to the state's workforce and economy, while educational attainment, quality of life, and cost of living factors remain promising.
The Worker Shortage Across America
Explore the interactive map below to see the impact of the worker shortage crisis in each state.
The Chamber’s Worker Shortage Index ratio indicates the number of available workers for every job opening. A ratio above 1.0 indicates a surplus of available workers compared to job openings.
Georgia’s Labor Market
Prior to the pandemic, Georgia’s labor market was somewhat healthy. The state had nearly enough workers to fill every open job and more workers were being hired into jobs than leaving them. The state’s unemployment rate closely mirrored the national figure at 3.5%, but its labor force participation rate was a point lower than the national rate of 63.4%.
Georgia’s current labor market has mostly recovered and it is displaying signs of improvement. However, the state's labor force participation rate continues to lag behind its pre-pandemic levels, just slightly over one percentage point below the national average.
Georgia’s hiring rate continues to surpass its quit rate, and its unemployment rate remains lower than it was before the pandemic. These trends are particularly promising for employers, who have a surplus of 130,000 job openings compared to February 2020. On the downside, Georgia is grappling with a workforce shortage, evident by the fact that there are only 69 available workers for every 100 open job positions in the state.
Georgia’s Business Environment
Georgia's business environment is diverse, encompassing a rich agricultural economy, numerous professional sports teams, several prominent universities, and serving as the headquarters for a number of favored Fortune 500 companies.
Most Georgians are employed by the trade, transportation, and utilities industries, as well as government with construction employment being relatively minimal. Georgia's employment landscape is shaped by its strong transportation infrastructure, encompassing extensive rail and highway networks, the world's busiest airport, and a major port.
Georgia boasts a thriving small business ecosystem, with 99.6% of all Georgia businesses falling into this category. Forty-two percent of Georgia's workforce works within small businesses. Within this dynamic landscape, women own 45.8% of small businesses, 35.9% are minority-owned, 7.8% are owned by Hispanics, and 7.8% are veteran-owned.
Georgia’s Educational Attainment
Georgia’s education levels are relatively on par with the national averages across the board. Over a quarter of the population has obtained their high school diploma or its equivalent. Twenty percent of the population has attained a bachelor's degree, while 14% have secured a graduate degree.
Fortunately for employers in the state, the vast majority (80%) of Georgia college freshmen are remaining in the state for their higher education, where the average in-state tuition is $7,457.
Out-of-state tuition in the Peach state is $23,167, significantly less expensive than the national average out-of-state tuition of $28,000. In total, roughly 543,000 students are enrolled in a Georgia college for the 2022-2023 school year. These students supply a rich talent pool from which local employers can recruit talent.
Quality of Life
Georgia's median household income of $67,730 is lower than the national average of around $70,000, which places the state at the 37th rank among all states. Georgia’s tax rate between 2% and 5.75% positions the state among the lower tiers of other state tax rates.
Nearly a third (30%) of Georgia’s workforce are remote workers. For those commuting into an office, the average commute time is 28.7 minutes. The Council for Community and Economic Research measures states’ costs of living compared to the national average of 100. Georgia’s cost of living index falls at 91, meaning the state is more affordable in comparison to the national cost of living. The median rent settles at $1,042, while the median home cost is $ $320,437, both falling beneath the national average. Nearly 65% of the population owned their housing unit in 2021. The state experienced a growth rate of 1.71% from 2020 to 2022.
In the U.S., immigrants tend to be of working age in comparison to native-born individuals. Consequently, they are more actively engaged in the labor force, playing a dual role as both consumers and taxpayers, contributing to help fund programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Looking at Georgia in particular, immigrants comprise 10.2% of the state's population, totaling over one million individuals. Their collective spending power amounts to $29.7 billion, while their tax contributions reach $10.3 billion.