Notes from the Senate

by | September 12, 2018 3:04 pm

by SENATOR JACK HILL, 4th District

   APPEARS THAT ECONOMY IS DEFYING ODDS

   You have probably seen the many job news announcements coming to Georgia and recognized them as a sign of our state’s continued prosperity and great economic environment. On August 29th, Dr. Rajeev Dhawan of Georgia State’s Economic Forecasting Center presented his quarterly Forecast of Georgia and of Atlanta. 

   With an expectation of the state to add 78,400 jobs by year end for 2018, the forecast presented a bright picture of the national and Georgia economy continuing to move at a robust pace.  The outlook for 2019 is bright with an expectation of 61,700 new jobs to be created with 11,800 of them considered “premium jobs,” similar to 2018’s “premium” total of 12,500.  These job additions are considered unusual for this late-term stage of the expansion and are a good sign for Georgia’s economic environment.

   GEORGIA’S ECONOMIC REPORT CARD COMES IN AT A-

   Dr. Dhawan examines the recent second quarter 2018 economic performance with a look back to the past twelve months and provides a graded letter score. Civilian employment, came in with a strong A+ mark and self-employment is also noted as growing strongly. 

   Within categories of jobs added, healthcare and hospitality positions posted good job gains both ranking “A”.  Coming in at A- were total non-farm jobs and manufacturing positions both exhibiting signs of strength.  The areas that were ranked as less than stellar included business services jobs that had surprising job losses and information and technology jobs which appear to continue to struggle.  Those jobs did fair better in July of 2018.

   PERSONAL INCOME GROWTH EXPECTED TO IMPROVE

   Since state personal income tax collections are just under half of total estimated state funds revenues, they are an integral component to review.  Personal income in Georgia in calendar year 2017 grew by 3.9% with a forecast of 4.4% in 2018, 5.2% in 2019 and 5.2% in 2020.  These strong forecasts are tied to many of the job announcements and news of the strong economy and continued lowering of the unemployment rate. 

   JOB GROWTH BRISK

   Some of Governor Deal’s recent economic development announcements include: SELIT North America to create 100 jobs in Banks County and Jaguar Land Rover Classic creating 75 jobs in Chatham County; and those are among the announcements since August 15, 2018.

   Closer to home, Perdue Foods opened its Southeastern Distribution Center facility in Effingham County this week adding 150 jobs with over 47,000 square feet. It is part of a lease arrangement with Lineage Logistics, a temperature controlled supply chain and logistics provider.  Also not long ago, Daniel Defense, in nearby Bryan County, opened its new state of the art facility on I-16.

   COASTAL EMPIRE OUTLOOK

   Despite setbacks brought by the winter storms, the economic forecasting index surged on renewed strength in housing and falling unemployment insurance claims.

   In the Fourth Senatorial District, the Georgia Southern University’s Economic Monitor of Q1 2018 released in July, which covers Bryan, Chatham and Effingham counties, speaks to the strength of the region.  Despite setbacks brought by the winter storms, the economic forecasting index surged on renewed strength in housing and falling unemployment insurance claims. Two sectors with positive area changes noted include construction which added 300 workers and manufacturing which added 200 workers, while overall employment growth in the region remained flat.  Manufacturing also contributed as the healthiest growth year-over-year at +4.2%.  The coincident economic activity index was boosted by growth in electricity sales and airport boardings, while the previously struggling areas of retail sales, hotel room sales and port activity saw some return to recent gains.

   INNOVATIVE BUSINESSES IN EXPANDING GEORGIA ECONOMY

   While the high level view looks rosy, the rise of shared creative space and co-working opportunities also is providing new opportunities to business and challenging traditional job openings.  In downtown Statesboro, newly opened Divvy Desk provides a shared creative space and individualized work spaces smaller than a full office.  In the growing film and digital entertainment industry of the state, more self-employed and freelance workers are using co-working or creative space to launch their businesses.  Shared space also offers small businesses opportunities to collaborate and have professional space, without having to incur all of the building costs when they may be working on location.

   Whatever the work venue, the economy in Georgia is looking bright.

   For more information on Georgia State University’s Economic Forecasting Center Conference please visit https://efc.robinson.gsu.edu/.  Conferences are held quarterly in Atlanta.

   For more information on Georgia Southern University’s Economic Monitor Newsletter and the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER), please visit https://cob.georgiasouthern.edu/big/big-programs/cbaer/economic-monitor-newsletter/ .

   For more information on Divvy Desk, please visit https://www.divvydesk.com/.

   I may be reached at 234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334; 404-656-5038 (phone); 404-657-7094 (fax); e-mail at Jack.Hill@senate.ga.gov; toll-free at 1-800-367-3334, day or night; or by phone at my Reidsville office, 912-557-3811.

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