Consumer confidence rises in Georgia - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Consumer confidence rises in Georgia

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Georgia's economy is slowly improving, and most people in the state expect that meager growth to continue. People in our part of the state are less optimistic. One expert says it will take us longer to recover from the recession.

Take a look inside Place on the Point on Westgate drive, and you'd never think we're in the middle of a recession. Staff are hard at work assembling Easter Baskets. Manager Honey Bolton says she's managed to escape the recession by offering a diverse selection of gifts people will always need.

"We always say people are always going to get married and have babies and that's one of those areas that has stayed very consistent," said Bolton.

Bolton says the store has relied on customer loyalty for its 26 years of business. Jennifer Sauls is a perfect example. She comes here all the time. Friday, she's buying Easter baskets for her two daughters. The recession keeps her eyes on gas prices, sales, and she avoids spending too much at once. 

"We try to spread things out over the years so we don't do a huge Christmas or a huge birthday," said Sauls.

Sauls thinks the economy is improving. So do some Georgians polled in a recent survey. 61 percent say the economy is the same or better than last year, up from 55 percent a year ago. When you break down the numbers by region, Only 42  percent of south Georgians think the economy is the same or better.

The Director of Georgia Southern University's Bureau of Business Research says the economic outlook for our area depends on the commodity prices of peanuts and cotton.

"They tend to be a slower growth economy to begin with, they don't have the same level of growth that the coastal or north metro areas have and it will take them time to fully recover," said Ed Sibbald.

While Bolton and Sauls agree it will take time, they believe south Georgia's resilience will help it climb out of our recession.

Experts say factors that are keeping consumer confidence from growing significantly include worries about the national debt, high food and energy prices, and slow job creation.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.  

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