Economic grow in Albany not likely until 2012 - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Economic grow in Albany not likely until 2012

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Don't expect substantial job growth in Albany until 2012.  That's when economists predict our area will finally begin to recover.    

Georgia's gross domestic product is expected to grow 3% this year.      In order to keep up with the demand for goods, companies may have to hire more employees.  The biggest growth is likely in service industries, but that growth will be slow.    

Overall, the message was positive.  Economic growth will happen, though it may be slow and painful.  And it may be even slower in Albany where the number of jobs in 2010 fell to the levels of available jobs in 1994.

Finally, the economy may be on the rebound.  But it's a slow and painful process.  Tonya Matheny certainly feels the pain.  She said, "I don't know what happened but everything has just gone kaput in this country."She's been job hunting.  Filling out application after application with zero serious prospects.

She said, "There's just not a whole lot out there.  It's very frustrating.  I've got college behind me and everything else and I'm willing to take anything.  I'd work at McDonald's if they'd hire me, but they won't."

Bobby Williams says he's been job hunting for two years with no luck, and he feels like he's the kind of guy people would want to hire.  "I'm a hard-worker," he said, "dedicated, I'm always on time, willing to do whatever it takes to get the job ready."  But he hasn't gotten any offers.

He said, "No luck.  I had interviews, just no luck."  But there may soon be a better job market in Albany, as people begin spending more money, and as banks start loaning money again.

Robert Sumichrast said, "We are seeing that banks are starting to lend again.  They're still being pretty risk averse and if they're lending to consumers they're going to be looking carefully at your credit scores."

And your ability to repay that loan, which more people should be able to do as jobs in service industries will be on the rise.  Agriculture, still our number one industry in Southwest Georgia, should also have a good year.

Mark Masters with the Water Planning and Policy Center said, "Prices for all the major commodities we produce, you know, peanuts, corn, cotton, even pecans are really high, cotton is in record territory."

And Tonya is hopeful that success in agriculture will trickle down to her.As for the housing market, it appears that prices may be leveling off, though foreclosures probably haven't bottomed out.  We may see more this year than last.    

Consumers are also expected to spend more money on durable goods this year:  Cars,  appliances, and other products that they need but will last for several years.

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