It’s a great time to live and work in Atlanta. The city recently ranked the third-best city in the US to start a career by WalletHub. It is also ranked among the best cities to start a business and one of the top cities for millennials based on the cost of living, diversity, youthfulness, and crime and safety. The Atlanta area continues to grow quickly, currently ranking as the 10th fastest-growing big city in the US.
The Atlanta metro region consists of 29 counties and is the nation’s ninth-largest metropolitan area. The city itself is located primarily in Fulton County. Other cities within the metro area include Marietta, Decatur, Smyrna, Johns Creek, Milton, Chattahoochee Hills, Dunwoody, Peachtree Corners, Brookhaven, and Sandy Springs. Despite its Southern flair, Atlanta has always been more of a commercial city than an antebellum monument. Its diverse economy, top-notch educational institutions, and young, educated workforce provide an inviting venue for both multinational corporations and entrepreneurial start-ups.
The metro region is home to 26 Fortune 1,000 companies – 15 of which are Fortune 500 companies. Atlanta has more Fortune 500 headquarters than any other US city except for Houston and New York.
Fortune 500 Companies with headquarters in the Atlanta Metro Region:
|AGCO||Construction and farm machinery|
|Asbury Automotive Group||Automotive retailing/services|
|Coca-Cola Enterprises||Beverage marketing|
|Delta Air Lines||Airlines|
|First Data||Financial data services|
|Genuine Parts||Wholesalers: diversified|
|HD Supply Holdings||Industrial distribution|
|Home Depot||Specialty retailers: other|
|NCR Corporation||Computers, office equipment|
|Newell Rubbermaid||Home equipment, furnishings|
|The Southern Company||Utilities|
|SunTrust Banks||Commercial banking|
|United Parcel Service (UPS)||Mail, package, freight delivery|
The key to Atlanta’s economy is its diversity. Key industries include:
- Manufacturing and transportation
- Finance and business
- Health care and biotech
Turner Broadcasting Systems and Cox Media Group made the city a globally recognized media and entertainment center, which fueled Atlanta’s growing film and tourism industries.
Areas of Job Promise
Unemployment in the metro area stands at 4.2%. Its unemployment rate is higher than the state of Georgia, which is 3.8%, and the national jobless rate, which is 3.7%.
Overall, Georgia’s economy is expected to grow faster than the nation’s, though the state’s job growth is expected to stay where it was last year, about 1.5%. Atlanta is expected to add 52,000 new jobs in the coming year.
A recent report from the Brookings Institution ranked the city 19th for job growth of the top 100 best-performing metropolitan economies in the US.
As the regional center of commerce for the Southeast, Atlanta’s economy has something for everyone. Nearly every major business sector has a footprint in the city, though certain skills are more in demand than others. Jobs in highest demand this year are in technology.
Job prospects appear best in construction, durable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. Hiring in non-durable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, information, other services, and the government is expected to remain unchanged.
Salaries in Atlanta are expected to be higher this year than the national average. Those working here can anticipate a 1.7% increase in their salaries in the coming year, the fourth-highest wage growth in the US year-over-year.
The highest-paying positions in Atlanta are (with average annual wage):
- Internists, general: 268,350 USD
- Surgeons: 266,600 USD
- Obstetricians and gynecologists: 254,980 USD
- Physicians and surgeons, all other: 232,410 USD
- Psychiatrists: 221,980 USD
- Family and general practitioners: 210,290 USD
- Chief executives: 199,950 USD
- Pediatricians, general: 177,930 USD
- Dentists, general: 174,010 USD
- Podiatrists: 161,130 USD
The following are average hourly wages for some selected occupations:
|Occupation||Average Hourly Wage, Atlanta (USD)||Average Hourly Wage, National (USD)|
|Customer service representatives||17.46||17.14|
|Computer systems analysts||43.46||44.59|
|General and operations managers||58.86||59.35|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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