Forecast: Augusta job base to grow less than 1 percent

  • Follow Business

ATLANTA — The metro Augusta economy will make little headway this year, according to Georgia State University’s quarterly economic forecast released Wednesday.

“Our forecast for Augusta calls for a moderate 0.7 percent increase in total employment in 2013, followed by a 1.2 percent increase in the annual employment level in 2014,” wrote Rajeev Dhawan, director of Georgia State’s Economic Forecasting Center.

Augusta added only 240 jobs in the first three months of the year, with retailers supplying the bulk of them. Shedding jobs was professional/business services and construction, putting the quarterly unemployment rate at 8.6 percent.

Statewide, economic recovery is well entrenched in Georgia, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t being dragged down by external circumstances. The state will expand employment by 1.8 percent this year, further reducing its unemployment rate to 8.6 percent.

Personal income will grow by 2.5 percent in 2013, but it won’t do much to boost disposable income after inflation and the resumption of the full, federal employment tax. Add to that the fact that one-third of Georgia homeowners no longer can tap home equity to supplement their cash flow because they owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth, and the result is tepid consumer spending despite pent-up demand.

“The battle will be fought between the urge to splurge on one side and reduced disposable income on the other,” Dhawan said. “We already can guess the odds of winning here.”

Stingy consumers mean meager sales-tax collections, both for the state and local governments as well as for transportation projects in 46 counties, including those in the Augusta, Columbus and Vidalia regions. That could hobble government budgets.

For example, the forecast notes that Georgia’s statewide sales-tax collections grew by a modest 0.4 percent from July to April.

“That’s a far cry from the 5.3 percent growth we had in fiscal 2012,” Dhawan said.

What are the external circumstances buffeting the Georgia economy?

Europe’s recessionary economy, the pause in China’s growth, Middle East instability and the developing impact of the sequestration of federal funds are counterweights to the surging stock market and rising home values.

The 2013 forecast predicts the sectors benefiting will be wood products and transportation equipment in manufacturing, and the administration/support, information and leisure/hospitality service areas. Cutting jobs will be the federal government, textile mills and mining, according to the forecast.

The most vibrant metro areas will be Atlanta, Savannah and Athens which will beat the state’s pace while Augusta, Columbus, Dalton and Albany will be treading water.

Comments (5) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Riverman1
83903
Points
Riverman1 05/22/13 - 10:18 am
3
0
Communities Dependent on Gov't and Economic Cycles

Richmond County is heavily dependent on the government for jobs at the state and federal level. Cities such as this always lag behind the economic trends up and down, but they always pay the piper. In addition the big federal furloughs are going to start hitting immediately with workers at the fort losing a day a week until Oct.

GnipGnop
12234
Points
GnipGnop 05/22/13 - 10:33 am
3
0
If the Fort

Doesn't wind up closing altogether.

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 05/22/13 - 05:42 pm
1
3
Riverman.. Why don't some of

Why don't some of the residents(several post on the chronicle) of Columbia County try helping the county out instead of always complaining about things? The irony is the same people turn back around, and portray Columbia County in this positive light. Why can't the county attract jobs outside of Taxslayer/Urban Outfitters then? The Urban Outfitters announcement will only help bring the store and Anthropologie here faster(VAR or CBD).

The metro area doesn't have to solely rely on Richmond County for job growth. The Bridgestone plant in Aiken County is a perfect example.

I keep telling you Downtown, and West Augusta are the best chances for white collar office jobs. I've said before Evans is the next up, but won't happen until the other two speed up job growth.

Riverman1
83903
Points
Riverman1 05/22/13 - 09:15 pm
0
1
"I keep telling you Downtown,

"I keep telling you Downtown, and West Augusta are the best chances for white collar office jobs."

I'm curious as to what type "white collar" jobs you think would want to move downtown or any where in the area?

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 05/22/13 - 11:56 pm
1
0
Jobs

IT, medical, etc... The Rural Sourcing 100 IT jobs in the Enterprise Mill are one example.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs