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State of Working Georgia 2012

Georgia Budget & Policy Institute

State of Working Georgia 2012

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The State of Working Georgia brings together a wide range of data on jobs, incomes, poverty, health insurance, and other economic conditions to explore the most important question facing Georgia’s leaders: how are ordinary working Georgians, the engine behind the state’s economy, faring?  The report is produced annually and is part of The State of Working America project from the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute.

According to the most recent and comprehensive data available, the short answer is “not very well.”  Working Georgians continue to struggle through the difficult aftermath of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, and the downturn’s impact on Georgians’ financial well-being – their incomes, wealth, and wages – has been quite severe.  Due to the almost unprecedented impact of the Great Recession, working Georgians have seen essentially two decades worth of economic progress disappear.

Working Georgians – Still a Long Way from Recovering

Low- and middle-income families remain stuck with high unemployment, depressed wages, shrunken incomes, and historically high poverty:
  • The Great Recession caused a catastrophic employment drop among Georgia workers, according to the State of Working Georgia 2012.  Georgia lost 338,500 jobs - sixth most nationwide -during the course of the recession, and has gained back only a little over a third of those lost jobs.  As of August 2012, there are more than three times as many active job seekers nationwide as there are available jobs.
  • Median household income in Georgia has reverted to where it was in 1990, and evidence shows that family net worth has likely done the same.
  • The annual wages for low- and middle-income Georgians also fell drastically and are the primary reason family wealth and income are shrinking, which limit hardworking Georgians' ability to invest in the future.
  • The number of poor Georgians spiked significantly.  The state now ranks fifth highest nationwide in the percentage of residents living in poverty and 10th highest in the percentage of children also living in poverty.

"The report's findings couldn't be clearer - Georgia needs to invest more in education, job training, transportation, and safety net programs. That's how we strengthen the economy and create opportunity for everyone," said GBPI Executive Director Alan Essig.

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