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2012 Business Outlook Breakfast presented by Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
by Chamber News on February 24th, 2012

Economists Provide 2012 Business Outlook

The Chamber’s Business Outlook Breakfast hosted by Wiregrass Georgia Technical College was Feb. 16 at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center. A very distinguished panel of Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta representative Dr. Thomas Cunningham, UGA economist Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys and VSU economist Dr. Cynthia Tori presented the outlook from national, state and local perspectives. Dr. Ray Perren, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College President, welcomed the audience and introduced the speakers of the hour. Dr. Perren stated that WGTC “is proud to be a partner in assisting you in growing your business.”

Dr. Cunningham provided both a national and regional business outlook. He explained that there is a trend of a “deep recession followed by a steep recovery” during the post-war period, but this is not what we are experiencing right now. In a recession, people are uncertain and “postpone” what they are planning to do and after the recession ends, people “go out and do what they have postponed.” Dr. Cunningham spoke of the current situation in Greece and how many will look at their situation and learn from it.

The Georgia Economic Outlook was presented by Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys, Director of UGA’s Selig Center for Business and Economic Research. Dr. Humphreys’s forecast indicates that the state of Georgia will continue to experience slow growth, and it may take two decades to recoup lost jobs. The state of Georgia is expecting to experience growth at a rate of 1.5% inflation adjusted GDP and the US is expected to grow at 2%. He believes that our state could improve our current tax structure if we “broaden the base and shift the burden towards consumption and away from income production and investment.”

Lastly, VSU Langdale College of Business Professor of Economics, Dr. Cynthia Tori shared the greater Valdosta forecast which included our strengths and weaknesses. A portion of Dr. Tori’s presentation addressed foreclosures. As a percentage of units by area, Lowndes County is below the national average and has a percentage of .13% compared to .27% experienced by the state of Georgia. Dr. Tori views a wealth recovery, availability of qualified labor and our real estate market stabilizing as our community’s strengths.

Each member of our panel recognized our federal spending as a threat and perhaps the next “bubble.” For more information about our local forecast, please visit our website

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