Economic outlook gets better for Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Economic outlook gets better for Georgia

January 24, 2005

Albany - Economists predict Georgia's economy will continue improving this year, despite news of big problems with companies from Delta to Merck. The state's job growth is expected to double this year.

The Dean of UGA's Terry College of Business, George Benson, forecasts the gross state product will increase by 3.2%. That's a little more than last year. For you that means - more jobs. But still Georgia will get fewer new jobs than the national average.

As for southwest Georgia, economic growth will be slow. Darton Economist Amit Singh says a slow population growth coupled with a low-skilled work force deters new businesses from opening and hurts current businesses.

"You ask any employer and they will tell you it's hard to find people who have good skills and work ethics - period. You can't say Albany has a very qualified labor force. We have a lot of work to do in that area," said Darton College Economic Professor Amit Singh.

Economists say last year's overactive hurricane season will continue to keep energy and gas prices high this year. People will be forced to cut back spending to save money for gas and utilities.

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