Medical costs

Federal jobs analysts have offered additional proof to indicate that health care and education are leading the way for Rome and Floyd County’s workforce.

Ten-year trend data shows that health care and education jobs have grown by 27.7 percent locally while manufacturing jobs are down 16 percent and government-related jobs are down by 17 percent.

The report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics within the U.S. Department of Labor show Rome and Floyd County have added 2,300 health care and education jobs from 8,300 in November of 2007 to 10,600 in November of 2017.

“Rome, ever since the Civil War, has been a center for medicine,” said John Quinlivan, chairman of the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority. “And we’re extremely proud of all four of our colleges.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, manufacturing jobs have declined from 7,500 in November of 2007 to 6,300 last month. The manufacturing sector bottomed out at 5,400 jobs in July of 2011 in the heat of the recession. Manufacturing has rebounded slowly over the last six years.

“I know that there is a keen effort to recruit industry of all sorts into Rome and Floyd County,” said Rome Mayor Jamie Doss, who occupies a seat on the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority.

Doss said there are some “great” prospects in the works.

“But to say that we’re focused on manufacturing probably would not be accurate,” Doss said. “Rome and Floyd County has to work harder to re-cruit those industries and be competitive with the rest of the state.”

One of the changes is we’re making more stuff in the past but using less people to it, said Bruce Jones, professor of economics at Georgia Highlands College.

“Some of what we’re seeing here are the efficiency gains that have made possible through automation,” said Quinlivan.

Jones likened the manufacturing sector in today’s economy to agriculture in the post World War Two period.

“Back then the majority of people worked in agriculture. We still produce as many agricultural products as we did back then we just don’t use nearly as many people to do it,” Jones said.

Labor intensive jobs have gone to countries where the cost of labor is not very high, Jones said.

Government-related jobs have dropped from 7,100 in November of 2007 to 5,900 in November this year.

Local governments opted not to fill many positions during the recession and many are still running with numerous authorized positions unfilled.