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Georgia Predicted to Add Jobs, Personal Income Growth Anticipated for 2018

Rajeev Dhawan, Zwerner Chair of Economic Forecasting and director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business

Rajeev Dhawan, Zwerner Chair of Economic Forecasting and director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business

The continuing stock market bull run, corporate tax law changes, and other national and international factors will continue to support growth in metro Atlanta and Georgia’s large corporate activities sector, according to the latest report from the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business.

The forecast, released Feb. 28, calls for Georgia employment to add 76,200 jobs in 2018, 64,200 jobs in 2019 and 58,900 jobs in 2020. Nominal personal income will grow 4.1 percent in 2018, 5.3 percent in 2019 and 5.6 percent in 2020.

This follows a moderation in Georgia employment growth over the past two years, from 120,600 jobs in 2016 to 85,500 jobs in 2017.

“The question going forward is will this moderation continue or will the positive national and international developments arrest this moderation trend?” said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center.

“Compared to the nation, there are more peaks and valleys in monthly job numbers, but a clear downward trend can be seen since the state’s job growth rate peaked in the first quarter of 2015. This trend also is evident in neighboring and competitive states like Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina,” Dhawan wrote in his quarterly “Forecast of Georgia and Atlanta.”

The construction sector in metro Atlanta saw a sharp moderation in job growth, which was influenced by a slowdown in the construction of multifamily housing and the completion of two massive stadium projects, SunTrust Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

However, in Atlanta’s housing sector, construction permitting activity is expected to increase 1.2 percent in 2018, 2.1 percent in 2019 and 4 percent in 2020.

Manufacturing still plays a role in Georgia’s economy, but has been affected by international factors. In Dalton and Columbus, local economies were hit hard by the moderation in growth of jobs in the manufacturing sector. Dhawan attributed this to a strong U.S. dollar, as well as economic weakness with trading partners in the Middle East, Latin America and China.

He predicted the manufacturing sector will improve in 2018 as the dollar is predicted to weaken in value, helping to boost trade.

Georgia’s exports rose in 2017, with Canada, Mexico and China as the state’s largest trading partners. Increased trade at the port of Savannah led to increased job growth there, and Augusta and Athens also saw substantial increases in job growth.

Consumer spending in 2017 buoyed small businesses, and the trend is expected to continue in 2018 as consumer spending continues to rise as personal income grows alongside tax changes.

For more information about the Economic Forecasting Center, as well as more economic predictions for Georgia and the nation, visit http://efc.robinson.gsu.edu.

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