Morris News Service Story updated at 12:05 AM on Thursday, February 28, 2008
ATLANTA - The Athens area will avoid a recession this year and grow at twice the rate of the rest of the state, according to Georgia State University's Economic Forecasting Center.
In a quarterly outlook released Wednesday, Georgia State economists predict metro Athens will add 1.6 percent more jobs - compared to the anemic 0.8 percent growth forecast for the rest of Georgia.
While Athens should dodge a recession, the local economy will see fewer new jobs in 2008 than in the last quarter of 2007, when the city added 2 percent more jobs.
The authors of the forecast note the recession-proof nature of the taxpayer-funded University of Georgia as the area's largest economic engine.
"For this reason, we expect the employment growth in Athens to remain stable and increase by 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively," they wrote.
The local unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.6 percent in December of last year to 3.7 percent in the same month this year.
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 022808