State of Working Georgia 2012: Great Recession Wiped Out Two Decades of Progress for Georgia’s Poor and Middle Class


ATLANTA – Everyday working Georgians saw two decades of economic progress disappear in the wake of the Great Recession and continue to struggle through its aftermath, a new report from the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute finds. “State of Working Georgia 2012” brings together a wide range of data on jobs, incomes, poverty, health insurance, and other economic conditions to paint a clear picture of the difficulties that ordinary working Georgians face in today’s economy.

“The sobering reality is the downturn knocked out about two decades of economic progress for low- and middle-income Georgians, and though the economy is now improving, the effects of the crash will continue being felt for many years,” said GBPI analyst Wesley Tharpe, author of the report.

Working Georgians are still a long way from fully recovering. Low- and middle-income families remain stuck with high unemployment, depressed wages, shrunken incomes, and the 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.  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, limiting hardworking Georgians’ ability to invest in the future.
  • The number of poor Georgians spiked significantly. The state now ranks fifth nationwide in the percentage of residents living in poverty and 10th 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.

Download the full report:  State of Working Georgia 2012


Media Contact:
Utoia Wooten

404.420.1324 ext.  109



About Georgia Budget & Policy Institute

GBPI is the state’s leading independent, nonpartisan nonprofit engaged in research and education about the fiscal and economic health of the state of Georgia. GBPI provides reliable, timely analysis of Georgia’s budget and tax policies, and promotes greater state government fiscal accountability, improved services and an enhanced quality of life for all Georgians.

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