Job availability in metro Atlanta is increasing, along with the amount of people moving to the growing city.
Atlanta’s employment increase landed it in second place for the fastest growing city among other U.S. metro areas, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) recent report.
Jim Jaquish, senior communications coordinator at ARC, said most of the new jobs are in the City of Atlanta’s employment centers, Downtown Atlanta, Midtown and Buckhead.
“When companies expand or new jobs are created, a large percentage of that activity will, naturally, happen in these same centers where jobs already exist,” he said.
From May 2014 to May 2015, Atlanta created more than 79,000 jobs, according to the report.
Madison Hellsten, Georgia State senior psychology major, said metro Atlanta’s job increase makes her feel more secure about finding a job after graduation.
“Being a senior, I am looking into figuring out what I want to do,” she said. “I really like living in Atlanta and knowing that there is a lot of job opportunities coming.”
Most of the job increases were in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and construction, according to the ARC.
Jaquish said these areas have been traditionally strong in metro Atlanta, which may be why the sectors grew.
“As the economy has returned, it has diversified some into bio-tech, entertainment and other fields, but much of that growth has come in areas of strength, like these,” he said. “Plus, as our recent population estimates show, the region’s population growth is also returning, meaning that residential construction is on the upswing.”
While more doors were opening in the job market, 60,300 people became residents in metro Atlanta’s 10 counties from April 2014 to April 2015, according to the ARC.
The ARC stated the county with the most residents was Gwinnett, with 15,700 residents.
Jaquish said Gwinnett has been a leader in population growth for years.
“As the second-largest county, it will, by births alone, be a population leader,” he said. “But because of schools, access to jobs and overall quality of life, it boomed in the 90s and 2000s and continues to lead the way in population growth today followed by Fulton and Cobb.”
He also said ARC estimates that two million more residents will come to metro Atlanta’s 20-county region by 2040, along with more jobs.
“We also anticipate changes in the region’s demographics, such as a population that will be much older than today’s and much more diverse,” he said.
Jaquish said ARC will be preparing and helping local jurisdictions for the influx of people by predicting trends.
“As the metropolitan planning agency for the region, the Atlanta Regional Commission is developing The Region’s Plan, a living document, updated every four years, that forecasts and helps local jurisdictions plan for changes between today and 2040,” he said.
Atlanta’s job growth potential should also increase steadily over the next 10-20 years in the logistics, leisure, hospitality and business services sectors, according to Jaquish.
To prepare students for the growing job market, Anderson said the university system should bring companies into the classroom.
“But really it’s bridging the gap between community partners, as well as, corporations inside of the school [and] having those informationals [to] really have the students understand the career paths that the companies, because you hear about the same jobs, which is a lawyer, a doctor or a business professional,” she said.