Georgia can expect a 3.3% increase in gross domestic product and a 5.7% rise in personal income in 2016, according to UGA’s Terry College of Business Dean Benjamin C. Ayers and Selig Center for Economic Growth director Jeff Humphreys. The pair spoke at a Wednesday event in Athens, as reported by the Athens Banner-Herald. The pair cited population growth, a recovery in the housing market, and low oil and gas prices as the reason for their optimism.
If there is cause for concern, it has to do with the rate of job growth.
Statewise, Ayers said the addition of companies such as Baxter International (1,500 jobs), Sage (400 jobs) and Mercedes-Benz (700 jobs) brings good jobs, which increases the rise in personal income. But the job growth rate, while still expected to rise 2.4 percent, is below the increases of 2.7 and 3.0 percent in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
“One reason why Georgia’s job growth will slow, is that in the wake of the Great Recession many companies were too cautious about hiring and were essentially playing catch-up in 2014 and 2015,” Ayers said. “Now, most companies are no longer significantly understaffed. So, this extra push for job growth is gone. A second reason is that businesses’ profits are coming under more stress. That’s partially because expectations about the national and global economies moving into higher gear have not been realized.”
If there is a possible silver lining in the prospects for job growth, it’s possible the new positions will be better paying, and of higher quality.