ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Terry College of Business experts said Georgia’s economy is growing very quickly.
But they also said while Albany’s economy is growing, it is one of the slowest in the state.
The Dean of the Terry College of Business at UGA, Benjamin Ayers, told county, city and business leaders Wednesday they should expect to see the state’s economy continue to grow in 2019. But Albany may not see that same growth.
Even after factoring in the 130 full-time jobs Georgia Pacific’s lumber plant is set to bring.
But, there is one item that can’t be factored into the economic forecast yet, and that’s Hurricane Michael.
“Albany is such an important place in our state’s economy and obviously for Southwest Georgia, so of course it’s a natural location for us to come,” said Dean Ayers.
Experts said Hurricane Michael left Albany’s economy reeling badly.
“We’re watching to see what kind of impact Hurricane Michael has long-term on our agricultural producers,” said Justin Strickland, the President of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission.
While the long-term effects are still to be determined, the short-term impacts are already affecting Albany’s economy in 2019.
“Loss of crops will have an immediate impact,” said Ayers.
Specifically loss of pecan crops in the region. But Ayers' economic update did note positive wins for Southwest Georgia.
Albany is the new home of the future Georgia Pacific lumber plant, set to bring 130 full time jobs to the city. And potentially 300 jobs in connection to the facility through commercial truck driving jobs, mechanic jobs and many more.
“And it’s also just a great win of having that statement from Georgia Pacific here in choosing to expand here. So we believe it’s not only a win short-term, but also long-term for the Albany area,” Dean Ayers said.
Georgia Pacific will essentially invest $150 million into the area by building the lumber plant here.
“But the rebuilding effort is underway, and so we’re optimistic of the future for not only the Albany area, but the state of Georgia,” said Dean Ayers.
Other areas expected to bolster Albany’s economy this year are the College and Career Academy and Albany Technical College.
The goal of these schools is to help train a new needed workforce in technical careers, such as commercial truck driving and diesel mechanics.