ALBANY — Albany is restoring jobs at a faster clip than the state as a whole, and likely will continue to add jobs throughout 2012, a research analyst with the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business said this week.
Beata Kochut told attendees of the state economic forecast symposium Thursday that Albany appears to be faring better than Georgia as a whole both in creating new jobs and reducing unemployment.
While unemployment remained higher here than the state average, Kochut said that Albany added more than 1,000 new jobs in 2011 while the state is still trying to stem the tide of joblessness.
“The number of unemployed decreased faster in Albany than it did in Georgia as a whole,” Kochut said. “But unemployment rates were actually a little bit higher.
In 2012, Albany will likely continue to ride the momentum of a surge in professional services jobs and could continue to slowly add additional jobs, Kochut said.
“Professional services are growing very fast. Looking at differences between 2010 and 2011, that was one of the fastest growing areas — professional services — and that’s probably going to continue. Anything related to Albany’s role as the center of the surrounding areas and agricultural areas, like transportation for example, is probably going to grow, although that sector was not as strong as business services in 2011.”
Kochut said that government cutbacks likely to come in 2012 are going to be a problem for Albany, given that the city has a large number of residents who are on some kind of government assistance and that Albany derives a large portion of its gross domestic production from government sources, such as the local governments and Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany.
Albany’s declining population will also be a challenge to overcome, but as people flee urban centers following layoffs or housing constraints, Albany may see a bit of a bounce-back effect as people look for work outside of the major metropolitan areas.
As expected, Kochet said that college and technical school graduates will find employment more quickly than those with just a high school diploma and those without any formal education. Growing enrollments at Albany State University, Darton College and Albany Technical College hint that people who once worked but have been laid off are trying to make themselves more marketable by increasing their educational levels, she said.
Albany remains a viable location for manufacturing jobs, professional services and small business creation, she said.