Georgia's economic outlook isn't pretty - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Georgia's economic outlook isn't pretty

By Len Kiese - bio | email

December 3, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  The economic outlook is not looking bright in Georgia. A top economic forecaster says the recession in our state will end up being the worst since the Great Depression.

University of Georgia economists released their annual economic outlook Wednesday and they predict things will get a lot worse before they get better.

Jerry Doyal knows the key to running a successful business. "You have to change. If you don't change, you're gone," said Doyal.

That just might be the key. Through nearly six decades, his family's business has weathered the different economic climates. "I've been through a couple of recessions myself," said Doyal.

But these days, Doyal doesn't even want the word recession mentioned inside his store. "If you get gloom and doom in your conversation, that's what you're going to get," said Doyal. "If you have an upbeat attitude towards business, I think it'll go that way."

That outlook may be easy for Doyal. Business at the store is up 5-percent but the forecast for the state is dreadful according to economic experts.

"We are about in the middle of a deep and very long recession," said Robert T. Sumichrast, Dean of UGA's Terry College of Business.

Sumichrast says this likely will be the longest recession since the Great Depression. "We've got a couple more quarters of the really bad stuff in front of us," said Sumichrast.

The future bad stuff includes a possible increase in the already high number of unemployed in Georgia through 2010. "We're expecting it will double to about 9-percent with a net loss of about 175,000 jobs," said Sumichrast.

On top of that, many Georgians aren't able to spend as much. "This year it's no secret that state revenues are down and probably won't yet fully reflect the damage from the most recent economic turmoil," said Governor Sonny Perdue.

Despite the circumstances, Governor Perdue is confident about the Peach State. "Georgia has been through rough seas and emerged each time stronger than before," said Perdue.

Experts say it will take thawing frozen credit markets, oil prices continuing to fall and a pickup in the housing market to get strong. "There really isn't any big economic engine that's going to pull us out of this," said Sumichrast.

Doyal thinks positive thinking will pull the state through. "Oh I know we will. We'll get through it," said Doyal.

He hopes that message echoes from his store throughout Georgia.    

Sumichrast says although things will begin to recover towards the end of next year it will be a joyless recovery. He predicts there will still be slow commercial construction and job growth.

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