Better economy expected to bring area jobs

From the The Brunswick News

Brunswick's jobs outlook is looking up for the first time in four years.

Employment in the area is expected to grow by 2.3 percent in 2013, according to a study by the University of Georgia Selig Center for Economic Growth.

If that prediction is correct, it would be the first time area employment has not decreased in five years.

"Brunswick is getting a little boost finally from our regional economy and the state economy, which have been growing slowly but surely over this year," said Don Mathews, professor of economics at College of Coastal Georgia.

"The state has been getting a boost from the national economy, which began recovering from the recession well ahead of Georgia."

Brunswick's employment rate decreased by 1.3 percent in 2011 and 2.2 percent in 2010.

Brunswick Mayor Bryan Thompson said confidence in the economy is picking up. He said people who have held onto their jobs are starting to spend more.

"We lost a few jobs, but the people who have jobs feel more confident and comfortable that they're going to keep those jobs," Thompson said.

"They're loosening the purse strings a bit."

The trend isn't specific to the coast. Georgia's economic growth is on track to outpace the national average in 2013.

"The root of the improved outlook is financial," Mathews said. "The country is finally beginning to recover from the financial crisis of 2008-09. Households have reduced their debt and banks have improved their balance sheets. Household disposable income is up this year.

"Consequently, bank lending is up, households are spending more, and businesses are investing more in equipment and software. We have a long way to go on every front, especially locally, but we're headed in the right direction."

Nathan Sparks, executive director of the Brunswick and Glynn County Economic Development Authority, remains cautiously optimistic that the study's predictions will become a reality.

The outlook is good after some Golden Isles companies increased their staffs this year, including King and Prince Seafood and Gulfstream.

"We're pleased to hear it, but we're also cautious because we know that the nation's fiscal crisis is looming large and those overarching macroeconomic factors can change things quickly," Sparks said.

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Release Date: 12/3/2012
Source: The Brunswick News

By NIKKI WILEY