Even though the state is still climbing out of the recession of 2008, it looks like it’s going to be a good year for the economy. That was the message given to a room full of business leaders at the Middle Georgia Economic Outlook event in Warner Robins on Thursday.
Mercer University economist Roger Tutterow predicted Georgia’s economic growth will outpace the nation's in 2014.
“Certainly in Macon we’re seeing gains in professional and business services,” he said.
Tutterow says while Macon and Warner Robbins have not experienced a lot of payroll growth, the economy of Middle Georgia remains fundamentally healthy. He also says Macon’s employment will rise by about 800 jobs this year.
Statewide, he predicts the fastest job growth will occur in construction.
Charles Knapp, interim Dean of the Terry College of Business and former president of UGA, says the state gross domestic product will grow at three percent.
According to Knapp’s forecast, single family home starts will rise by 36 percent, and the state will gain over 4,000 new manufacturing jobs.
But in order to continue the warming trend, he says the state will have to make marked improvement in K-12 education.
“A lot of the jobs, good jobs, high paid jobs with benefits, are going to require very high levels of skill. And we’ve got to make sure we’ve got those skilled people in Georgia,” said Knapp.
Knapp said good jobs will be critical in terms of improving Georgia’s competitiveness, which ultimately determines the state’s standard of living.