As Georgia bleeds high-paying jobs, can education provide a salve?

georgia-road-map-300x334Are the architects of Georgia’s education policies paying close enough attention to the vicissitudes of the state’s job market?

Should they be? Should education policy track job market shifts?

I was disappointed to read that Georgia is losing a startling share of  “premium” jobs, according to a new brief by the Fiscal Research Center of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

Can education reverse the loss of the state’s highest paying jobs? Can we continue to under invest in education given the job trends?

As a state, Georgia came late to the realization that it had to educate its citizens to higher standards. It was content to send kids without a high school diplomas off to mills and farms, but those jobs have dramatically shrunk, and, in some cases, disappeared.

It is interesting to note where the jobs are in Georgia.

Fulton County holds the largest share of jobs. While Fulton represented  17.71 percent of state jobs in 2000, it fell to 16.91 percent in 2009. Cobb, Gwinnett, and DeKalb each represent about 7 percent of total state employment, or approximately 300,000 jobs. But DeKalb is slipping.

The report found that, “DeKalb County experienced job loss over the last decade of about 11 percent, whereas the number of jobs in Cobb County has stayed fairly consistent since 2000 with job loss of less than 1 percent. Gwinnett County experienced job creation in the early part of the last decade, but gave up some of those gains in the later part of the decade.”

The report looks at three levels of jobs; the premium job pays over $50,000 per year; the mid-range job pays between $35,000 and $50,000 per year; the low-paying job pays below $35,000.

Seven counties in Georgia experienced larger than 50 percent decline in premium jobs over the last decade. They are Marion, Harris, Dooly, Clarke, Ben Hill, Twiggs and Atkinson.

Eleven counties in Georgia had at least 100 percent growth in premium jobs over the last decade. They are Chattahoochee, Quitman, Long, Webster, Monroe, Screven, Barrow, Bryan, Calhoun, Dawson, and Taliaferro.

The brief concludes:

“The state of Georgia experienced a decline in both premium (-13.59 percent) and low-paying (-2.74 percent) jobs over the last decade. The mid-range jobs saw an increase of 3.55 percent over the 2000-2009 time period. The loss of premium jobs predates the current recession and in fact, the state shed a larger percentage of premium jobs from the 2000-2005 period than after (although the downward trend continued). The recession impacted midrange and low-paying jobs by reversing job growth seen earlier in the decade. The low-paying jobs experienced the largest decline in jobs during the 2005-2009 time period.”

The state of Georgia appears to have lost a significant share of its premium jobs, while replacing some of these jobs with mid-range jobs. The counties within the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area are experiencing a similar situation but are replacing more of the lost premium jobs with mid-range jobs. In general, the metropolitan area is increasing its share of jobs in the state, but this is largely because these counties are just not declining as fast in job losses. Certain areas outside the metro area are doing quite well with growth in premium jobs driven by the professional, scientific, and technical services and manufacturing sectors, while those who have lost the largest percentage of jobs outside the metro area are largely seeing declines not driven by a few sectors but losses in a number of various sectors.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

50 comments Add your comment

Pride and Joy

January 28th, 2013
12:54 pm

To answer Get School’s question: “Are the architects of Georgia’s education policies paying close enough attention to the vicissitudes (downturn is a better word) of the state’s job market?”
We don’t need architects to figure out this no-brainer. YES, OF COURSE we need to educate citizens to very high degress, which means, we absolutely need more REAL college and high school graduates, not graduates with worthless high school and college diplomas.
And it is ridiculous to assume that one doesn’t need to be highly educated to farm.
We don’t need college graduates to throw feed into the cow trough. We DO need college graduates to determine the cost of feeding, slaughtering and producing meat and determine how to earn a living doing it. It’s math, science, and business acumen.
The huge sink hole in the road in front of my home had a metal plate over it for a year until I dragged the city out to look at it and four men stood over the sink hole and couldn’t fixt it because they didn’t know what a 45 degree angle was on a pipe that needed to be replaced. I LITERALLY stood there in the sewer with them and taught them — in the sewer. FOUR employees didn’t know what a forty five degree angle was.
Yes, we absolutely need to educate our citizens and we don’t need an “education policy expert” to tell us that.

Pride and Joy

January 28th, 2013
1:00 pm

For the last time…..
Georgia education is NOT underfunded.
It is OVER funded and the money is stolen and mismanaged by greedy, lying educrats.

bootney farnsworth

January 28th, 2013
1:08 pm

not entirely.

Georgia has one of the highest tax rates in any red state. places where growth is occuring are in places like Texas where there is no state income tax. the higher the state income tax, the larger the outward migration.

also Georgia has a pitiful employee satisfaction rate. why stay where you’re not appreciated?

lastly, anyone with kids who has the chance should flee the state at top speed to a state where the public education isn’t imploding

Dewey Cheatham & Howe

January 28th, 2013
1:16 pm

“Lastly, anyone with kids who has the chance should flee the state at top speed to a state where the public education isn’t imploding”

This makes perfect economic sense. Selling your house, quitting your job, uprooting your family HAS to be cheaper than just putting your kid in a good private school .We have our answer.

You should give investment advice.

agent

January 28th, 2013
1:17 pm

What’s with the flip-flop? This blog is usually about our kids don’t need to go to college; they need to learn how to be a plumber and dig ditches.

Prof

January 28th, 2013
1:18 pm

I have to say that I agreed with Bootney’s last paragraph…though I’m not sure that such a state exists.

oldtimer

January 28th, 2013
1:23 pm

Pride and Joy..so true. I actually think if taxes were lowered…even to the point of doing away with State Income Tax…See TN or Texas and now Kansas. These states are growing. We spend too much on educational leadership. We have too many “chiefs” at every level. The county I taught in, in TN, the teachers made about $20,000 less than I did in GA.(retired in 06) The superintendant made UNDER $100,000.
They graduated 98% of their students last year. They did spend money on remediation when needed and began early. Students are required to stay in school till 18 and if they became a problem the court system and probation jumped in and helped. After a career in metro Atlanta I was impressed withthe commitment form parts of the community to see that all graduate.

oldtimer

January 28th, 2013
1:25 pm

And when we returned to GA we chose Cobb County because they reduce Senior Citizens taxes at 62.

Google "NEA" and "union"

January 28th, 2013
1:38 pm

If true, this is all the more reason to move forward aggressively with market-based reform of public education. Make traditional public schools compete with alternatives by providing parents with REAL choices: tuition vouchers they can use in the school of their choice.

And make the traditional public school system actually lose teachers and funding in proportion to the students they lose to freely-made parental choices.

Mountain Man

January 28th, 2013
1:42 pm

“As Georgia bleeds high-paying jobs, can education provide a salve?”

We already have a salve and it is named HOPE. It helps keep the smart, college-bound kids in the State of Georgia. If we make HOPE need-based, then we do away with the salve.

A parent that actually cares

January 28th, 2013
1:44 pm

Dewey beat me to it. Only to a public school teacher would it make more sense to move away than abandon bad public schools.We need vouchers and we need them yesterday.

TechEd

January 28th, 2013
1:44 pm

“As a state, Georgia came late to the realization that it had to educate its citizens to higher standards.”

This may be true in word, but in deed the state still appears to be somewhat obtuse on the issue.

Mountain Man

January 28th, 2013
1:45 pm

“Georgia education is NOT underfunded.
It is OVER funded and the money is stolen and mismanaged by greedy, lying educrats.”

I agree with Pride and Joy. We spend FOUR TIMES what we spent in 1960 ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION (shouting to make sure everyone hears that) and our education is WORSE. WHAT is wrong with that PICTURE?!

The BASICS are missing.

Decatur Greg

January 28th, 2013
1:52 pm

You can definitely educate the kids… then after they graduate they’ll recognize how backward GA is and move someplace progressive. As someone who had to hire people for positions that require a college degree I can tell you that people just aren’t willing to move to (or STAY in a) state that flaunts the ignorance of its populace and elected officials.

DoBoy

January 28th, 2013
2:00 pm

@Mountain Man: I respectfully disagree. Unless out-of-state tuition is cheaper (generally not) or those kids are getting full ride scholarships (which would pay more than HOPE anyway), Georgia isn’t losing the best kids to other states.

The real problem is who HOPE is funding.

As it stands, most HOPE recipients are generally kids that already had the financial resources to go to college anyway (ie. they had the tools at home — computers, high-speed internet access, etc. to be successful). By adding a need-based component (without dumbing-down the requirements to keep HOPE), the state can expand the pool of qualified students to include kids that have the brains, but don’t have the money.

DoBoy

January 28th, 2013
2:02 pm

…which would make a smarter job pool and attract the employers with the high-end jobs.

Pride and Joy

January 28th, 2013
2:04 pm

Decatur Greg, I am in a similar position. I often hire people but most of the resumes I fot from graduates of GA HBCUs was horrible and the ones from GA public colleges are often poorly written.
Instead, unfortunately, I had to hire the Rajas and the Rajeevs from India who write and speak common, standard English better than most Americans.
We have a huge problem with GA public schools and GA HBCUs and some GA colleges.

Tired

January 28th, 2013
2:09 pm

It’s hard to entice well-educated professionals to relocate here and enroll their children in schools that give evolution an eye-roll.

Pride and Joy

January 28th, 2013
2:10 pm

DoBOy you are missing one very critical factor when you say HOPE needs to be a needs-based scholarship…
The poor already have a cornocopia, a plethora, a buffet of delicous financial aid to choose from: FREE Pell Grants, student loans, student work-study jobs and so on.
It is the MIDDLE class which suffers when it comes to funding college. We are not eligible for Pell Grants, federal and state student loans and so on and we are very unlikely to get any minority hand ups. The rich have and will always have more choices than they need. The poor have a multitude of choices — it is the MIDDLE class that needs hope. A 70,000 annual salary is a solid, middle class income but even with only two kids that is not nearly enough to save for eight years tuition and fund retirement and pay for health care, let alone phying for every day expenses such as home and food.
HOPE needs to be for the middle class.
The poor don’t need HOPE and neither do the rich.

Matt321

January 28th, 2013
2:25 pm

@Pride and Joy

I think we can all agree that the poor and middle class both need help with the rapidly spiraling cost of higher education. No one can keep up, except for the wealthiest Georgians.

However, the poor do not have as many “free” resources as you say. Pell Grants are about it – and that only helps once you’re admitted to college. If we really wanted to help the poor, we’d start early interventions, and not try to put a band aid on the back end, when it’s too late. Regardless, a Pell grant is worth $5,550, for the academic year. Meanwhile, the cost of attendance for a year at UGA for a resident is ~$21,000. That “free” money doesn’t get you very far.

Student loans are available to everyone – and they are not free. In fact, the rate charged on student loans today is very high, compared to the free money the federal government gives to banks. If we were really interested in jump starting the economy, we’d see some student loan relief, instead of bank relief. But that’s another story.

Georgia , The "New Mississippi"

January 28th, 2013
2:31 pm

Good companies like to do business in an ethical environment. Georgia has an well established reputation as the most corrupt state in the nation. We lead the nation in bank failures due to the low morals of the “”community bankers” in charge of them. Georgia has a great University system that people take advantage of it by coming in from out of state to attend …. and then move back home to states where higher education is valued and a person with a college education can earn more. College professors love to teach in the south because of the climate and the competitive salaries the Universities. Georgia’s K – 12 public school system along with state policies does not prepare a student for success in college. Why would a CEO relocate to Atlanta Georgia and place his children in the public school system ???????? These people have read about the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandals along with the private sector charter school takeover.. An independent analysis of the Hope Scholarship program determined it primarily rich kids from the suburbs whose parents can pay their tuition…………… ….Georgia has to depend on a GOP legislature governed by low morals and a misguided value system to correct problems ??????? We have not hit the bottom yet.

Georgia , The "New Mississippi"

January 28th, 2013
2:31 pm

Good companies like to do business in an ethical environment. Georgia has an well established reputation as the most corrupt state in the nation. We lead the nation in bank failures due to the low morals of the “”community bankers” in charge of them. Georgia has a great University system that people take advantage of it by coming in from out of state to attend …. and then move back home to states where higher education is valued and a person with a college education can earn more. College professors love to teach in the south because of the climate and the competitive salaries the Universities. Georgia’s K – 12 public school system along with state policies does not prepare a student for success in college. Why would a CEO relocate to Atlanta Georgia and place his children in the public school system ???????? These people have read about the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandals along with the private sector charter school takeover.. An independent analysis of the Hope Scholarship program determined it primarily rich kids from the suburbs whose parents can pay their tuition…………… ….Georgia has to depend on a GOP legislature governed by low morals and a misguided value system to correct problems ??????? We have not hit the bottom yet.

Inman Parker

January 28th, 2013
3:50 pm

We chose private education for our children seventeen years ago, and we have never looked back. Our son is now in graduate school in Germany and our daughter is in a very good private high school in north Atlanta. Sacrifices? You bet: few vacations, ten year old cars, out of season clothes. But the benefits are tremendous: two happy, well educated, well adjusted kids who are knocking it out of the park academically.I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to a Georgia public school. If you are a public school teacher you may find that last comment offensive. Well, the mess isn’t your fault. We as a state just cannot seem to find leaders who give a darn about educating the people of this state. And it doesn’t make any difference if they are Democrats or Rerpublicans. Georgia was dominated by Democrats until ten or fifteen years ago, and they did nothing either. Shame!

Atlanta Mom

January 28th, 2013
3:55 pm

We have a legislator who believes evolution is a bunch of lies, and one of our metro counties wants to put stickers in science books to explain the evolution is just a theory, and you wonder why Georgia is losing high paying jobs ? Really?

Home-tutoring parent

January 28th, 2013
4:36 pm

Atlanta Mom, you decry the idea that “evolution is just a theory.” Does your concept include God (evolution-creating or not)? In your life and your children’s lives, no God means if you are blasted to death, or your children are, it is what happens. Life isn’t special, death isn’t special. If your children are killed, you aren’t protesting.”It’s just the way it is, evolution culls the weak.” Christians say, “It is wrong.”

dc

January 28th, 2013
5:08 pm

didn’t GM just announce a 1,000 job operation (high paying!) moving to Atlanta? They must’ve missed the memo about how crappy our education system is…(GA Tech….jeez)

Home-tutoring parent

January 28th, 2013
5:09 pm

Jeus’s are taking over. Is it wrong? I don’t know, but you have to figure it out if it’s best for you.

I can figure it out. as a Jeau–you J eau leaders made us disperse from Israel, to really cold countries, where we most of us were badly mistreated. We got to go to the “New Israel”, but you screwed us here, making most of us slaves to the government.

Pride and Joy

January 28th, 2013
5:30 pm

Matt321 —
HOPE can still be EARNED by the poor just like it is for everyone else.
If anyone wants a scholarship, they can get one, by earning it.
Middle class kids cannot save any more money for college than poor kids do. Middle class parents pay for poor kids to go to public K-12 schools. We don’t have enough money to save to pay for our kids to go to UGA either.
You’re just missing the point.
Middle class is 70K. At 70K you make “too much” to qualify for Pell Grants and you make too little to save for college — that puts middle class kids — the ones who are the most likely to actually graduate from college and work for a living and pay taxes — out of range to afford college.
I know what I am talking about. I grew up poor. I got a Pell Grant but it wasn’t enough. I also got an academic scholaship (merit, not athletic), student loans and worked full time all through school and it took me six years to graduate but I did because I had middle class VALUES even though I was poor.
Excluding HOPE from the middle class is the most ridiculous notion ever.
The middle class supports America. Without us, there is no America.

Jerry Eads

January 28th, 2013
5:42 pm

This discussion has almost as many naive uninformed ah – individuals – as the weapons “debate.” Georgia is replete with individuals who think only of themselves and not how we might together develop a state that’s worth living in. Georgia and Atlanta are rapidly becoming the Michigan and Detroit of the South. No transportation development, schools cut to as few as 143 days, $5.4 billion (or whatever the number is) stolen by the state from the schools. And jobs disappearing faster than Roadrunner. Yessir, a few vouchers will certainly fix the problem.

Home-tutoring parent

January 28th, 2013
5:49 pm

Life is hard. We home-tutored, our kids got into really good schools, including U Washington, Northwestern, Washington StL, Rice, Columbia, Brown and Dartmouth.

“You home-schooled”. Not really. What I knew I taught. What I didn’t know I directed my kids to study really good text-writers. For example, Marvin Bittenger’s “Algebra and Trigonometry”. This is a fantastic book.

Dolciani et als. Hougton-Mifflen series (written to respond to Eisenhower’s Soviet Missle Crisis) books are really good too.

These books are only good if the teachers have 700+ scores. How much are they worth? Nobody has ever asked you.

Ann

January 28th, 2013
6:00 pm

@dc – The GM jobs are moving to Roswell, not Atlanta. There are pockets of better public schools, including some in North Fulton. I am sure they did their research and chose North Fulton, rather than DeKalb, Clayton or Atlanta, where school systems are in disarray or Gwinnett, where county commissioners had their recent corruption cases. Aside from the Science Academy charter school fiasco, the North Fulton schools have not had much controversy and are rocking along. But, overall, the state is still near the bottom.

There are increasing, high paying technology and medical jobs in the North Fulton area. Whether Georgia schools are preparing enough qualified students to fill those positions remains to be seen. Colleges, because of their bloated administrations and structure, are usually a decade or so behind job sector needs. For a couple of decades now, we have a huge shortage of doctors, physical therapists, speech therapists, RN’s, etc. Yet, for example, we still only have a couple of physical therapy degree programs cranking out fairly small numbers of graduates that do not meet the needs of the metro and rural areas of Georgia. We have a lot of students (academically qualified) that would like to obtain a physical therapy degree, but the competition for the few slots that are open is so great, that these students go elsewhere or choose other careers, as a result.

Beverly Fraud

January 28th, 2013
6:14 pm

“Life isn’t special, death isn’t special.”

So home tutoring, how do you explain there are atheists who scored well over 700+? Who do in fact have a moral and ethical code they live by?

RCB

January 28th, 2013
6:29 pm

Misssissippi has it all over GA when it comes to some fields. My daughter moved to MS a year ago as a heart transplant nurse practitioner. The reason? GA was/is the only state in the country that did not allow NP’s to write prescriptions for certain drugs, and doctors treating NP’s as competition instead of as colleagues. How backward is that? The ONLY state out of 50. The doctors would not and do not cooperate because they consider that their turf. She also got a $30K raise. They WANT good employees and are willing to pay for them. So, it’s not just the education part. It’s how our state operates on a daily basis in many areas. Backwards. I’m not surprised we’re losing jobs.

bootney farnsworth

January 28th, 2013
6:44 pm

the reason corporations come here is the state gives them sweetheart deals on taxes and cash incentives.

the question to me is, how long do the middle managers STAY here?

Georgia is good for businesses, but not necessarily for the people who staff said businesses. I’m aware a very large number of Kia employees down near the state line actually live in Alabama and
commute to Ga for work.

bootney farnsworth

January 28th, 2013
6:48 pm

” you decry the idea that “evolution is just a theory.”

talk about missing the concept. wow.

bootney farnsworth

January 28th, 2013
6:52 pm

while I hate the idea of them moving so far away, I’m encouraging all my kids to seek their education outside of Georgia.

not for the quality of education they can get here – our colleges do quite well, thank you, but because this state is in a transition, and the quality of life here for young professionals overall is not good.

this place is culturally gridlocked worse than DC. unless you make enough money to ignore all the crap around you, go to somewhere (I kid you not) like Mississippi when the quality of life is on the rise.

Old timer

January 28th, 2013
7:11 pm

Home tutoring parent…..I am a Christian and I fully believe in evolution and know the earth is more than 6000 years old.
GA is bleeding business because the ethical environment and schools are better else where.

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Prof

January 28th, 2013
7:19 pm

@ Home-tutoring parent. Evolution takes place over millions of years. I have never understood why God could not work through evolution as well as any other means of developing life.

Ann

January 28th, 2013
7:42 pm

For the quality of life, in general in Georgia, to be on the rise, we need true visionary leaders that have a desire to foster change rather than just putting money in their and their friends/relatives/donors wallets. We don’t have that yet, but some cities in Georgia have figured out some ways to improve schools, parks, and cultural offerings.

crankee-yankee

January 28th, 2013
7:42 pm

Home-tutoring parent
January 28th, 2013
4:36 pm

?what?

Lee

January 28th, 2013
8:06 pm

Wow, that “brief” by the “Fiscal Research Center” isn’t worth the paper (or electrons) it was written on. Basic rule of analysis, beware of report that only provides percentages.

Case in point;
“Eleven counties in Georgia had at least 100 percent growth in premium jobs over the last decade. They are Chattahoochee, Quitman, Long, Webster, Monroe, Screven, Barrow, Bryan, Calhoun, Dawson, and Taliaferro.”

So, does that mean they had one premium job and increased it to two (a 100% increase) or did they have 10,000 premium jobs and increased it to 20,000? Inquiring minds and all that.

Finally, any economic survey that begins in 2000 and ends in 2009, which was the nadir of the recession is worthless when trying to extropolated to a topic such as education.

Lee

January 28th, 2013
8:07 pm

“extropolate the data to a topic such as education”

Maureen Downey

January 28th, 2013
8:25 pm

@Lee, There are detailed charts attached to the report. Take a look at the actual data. The increases naturally vary by county.
Maureen

RCB

January 28th, 2013
8:58 pm

These percentages do show a trend, but not specific data. This brief is all percentages. I’d like to see actual job numbers included with the %. And yes, I did read the entire brief.

Starik

January 28th, 2013
11:55 pm

Since when is a $50,000+ salary “premium?” Also, Fulton County averages are meaningless, an average of the prosperous north and its poverty-stricken conjoined twin to the south.

Fled

January 29th, 2013
1:52 am

I would caution you all strongly against being quick to praise North Fulton schools. Any teacher who ever worked there will quickly tell you the reason those schools look good on paper. After one removes a certain high-performing layer of students, the remainder quickly slides into the mediocrity we all expect from Georgia.

@Dewey and @Parent who cares: I see things a bit differently, and I think that selling everything and fleeing the Georgia educational gulag may be the best investment you could possibly make. As a teacher, I knew that I would never be satisfied with myself for accepting mediocrity in my work, from my students, or, especially, for my children. I never have had the slightest desire to do “more with less,” as I am a sort of “do more with more” teacher. The combination of republican government, flat salaries, furlough days, and exploding costs for benefits quickly convinced me that it was time to get while the getting was good. I wanted good pay, respect, and an environment where I could actually teach. All I had to do was invest time and effort to get those things, and then, of course, to flee.

My personal priority has always been the raising and educating of my children. Had I remained in Georgia, my kids would never have had the opportunity to attend an internationally recognized prep school with excellent, well-paid, and satisfied teachers. They would never have been able to mingle and become friends with students from literally all over the world. My oldest is going to Vietnam for 20 days in support of a World History course, and my least spent three weeks in Paris living with a French family and studying French language and culture. I did not let them attend the ski trip to Switzerland because, after all, there must be a limit. My point is, such education is reserved for the very few in Georgia, so perhaps you might agree that the investment I made in putting them first has paid good dividends.

@Bootney: You are exactly right. Flee as fast as you can and don’t let that door hit you. As that redneck Lewis Grizzard used to say, “Delta is ready when you are.”

Lee

January 29th, 2013
5:57 am

Maureen Downey

January 28th, 2013
8:25 pm
@Lee, There are detailed charts attached to the report. Take a look at the actual data. The increases naturally vary by county.
Maureen

I read through the report. Those “detailed” charts only provide percentages. Without the underlying data, you cannot determine a perspective (i.e., is it 1 job or 10,000 that gave you that 100% increase).

bootney farnsworth

January 29th, 2013
8:13 am

@ starik

welcome to Obama’s America.

its petty of me I know, but I’ve been enjoying watching some friends who were big Obama supportes make amazing double takes when they realise Obama includes them in his evil rich catageory.

Pluto

January 29th, 2013
9:17 am

Some 30% of college graduates now occupy jobs where they are over qualified to make ends meet. So evidently a college degree is not what it once was. I worked in resource extractive and manufacturing prior to jumping to teaching due to under qualified science instructors in the classroom. Both extractive and manufacturing industries paid well and they are being lost due to over regulation by tree hugging granola crunchers. We have met the enemy and they is us.