Athens Economy Projected to Slightly Rebound

27 February 2014

According to an economic forecast released Wednesday, the economy of Athens will rise to a job-creation rate of 1.6 percent this year, an improvement over the 1.5 percent rate from last year.

“Athens continued a strong second half of 2013 with 280 new jobs in the fourth quarter after gains of 570 jobs in the third quarter,” said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University.

During most of last year, the number of government jobs was growing until a decease at the end of the year. Leisure and hospitality payrolls also ended the year in declines. However, Dhawan’s forecast is optimistic.

“Infrastructure improvements in downtown Athens, a new mixed-use development and a proposed redevelopment of downtown Watkinsville all point to a resurgent construction sector,” he said. “Despite the abandonment by Selig Enterprises of its mixed-use project, a new medical complex is taking shape along Prince Avenue.”

As a whole, the number of jobs in Georgia will rise by 2.1 percent this year.

“Georgia’s job creation pace was accelerating steadily in the first half of 2013,” Dhawan says. “But after peaking in early fall, it started to decelerate.”

During the deceleration, retail, hospitality and factory hiring were the only industries that maintained their momentum from the beginning of the year. Dhawan predicts they will continue to maintain this year.

As a result, the state’s unemployment average will drop to 7.3 percent for the year and fall further to 6.7 percent next year, according to the forecast.

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