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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 12:16pm

Economic Outlook Mixed

Nationally, economists are predicting a rosier year for business and hiring. But there are signs that Georgia’s might not be as bright.

Manufacturing order volume is one measure of an economy’s health. And in Georgia, new orders fell in the second half of 2011 after a strong start.

That’s according to the Georgia Purchasing Managers Index. It dropped five points to 47.4. A reading below 50 means manufacturing is contracting.

Don Sabbarese is a professor at Kennesaw State University, which publishes the index. He says the 2012 economic outlook for Georgia is mixed.

“When I look at the last three months of 2011, it was very volatile," he said. "We saw a very nice improvement in November, and then we lost a little more than half of that in December. So it’s not unclear as we enter into 2012 what direction manufacturing in the state of Georgia is going in.”

The job outlook, however, is looking brighter.

Georgia State University professor Rajeev Dhawan predicts Georgia will create 30,000 jobs this year.

He says the economy’s health, however, doesn’t only depend on factors in the U.S. and Georgia.

“We are not insulated from the global economy," he said. "What’s happening in Europe is going to affect us, either directly through our sales over there or indirectly through out sales to China. But it’s going to affect us.”

Dhawan says Europe’s euro crisis will linger well into this year.

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