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Albany to host economic forum

The University of Georgia Economic Outlook series comes to Albany

ALBANY — The University of Georgia will hold its annual economic outlook forum in Albany Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Albany.

The forum, which is part of a series of outlook forums the university holds throughout the state, is designed to present attendees with a complete picture of what the coming year will bring for the local, state and national economies.

Charles Knapp, interim dean of UGA’s Terry College of Business, along with Mark Masters, who serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at Albany State University, will be among the presenters.

Knapp, who has been present at each forum on the tour thus far, is expected to focus primarily on the outlook for the state and the nation, while Masters will provide a local perspective.

Based on the presentations Knapp has conducted so far during this series, from the state perspective audiences can expect to hear that Georgia’s economy should rise more the national economy, thanks in part to rising home prices, good economic policies and new jobs.

“Private sector job growth will be well balanced in 2014, which reduces the risk of recession because Georgia will not be dependent on the performance of just or two big economic sectors,” Knapp said at the first forum, held in Atlanta in December. “The fastest job growth will occur in construction, followed by professional and business services, mining and logging.”

Knapp also shared that forecasts show that the state’s inflation-adjusted GDP will grow at 3 percent in 2014, with an influx of 1.8 percent more jobs.

While most of the growth is expected in the private sector, Knapp shared that the state’s public sector will drag due to federal spending cuts that will impact the state due to the fact that federal spending makes up a relatively large part of the state’s GDP at 6.9 percent.

On the national front, attendees to Albany’s forum can expect to learn that the nation should see economic improvement with a 2.3 percent growth of GDP, up from 1.6 percent last year.

Knapp will also share similar data to that presented in Atlanta which showed that in addition to GDP growth, the country will likely also see growth in wages and benefits, growth in existing and new home prices, gains in consumer spending, a decrease in unemployment and an increase in private spending for new residential construction, among other things.

Many attendees to the Albany forum, however, will be more concerned with Masters’ presentation, to see how the state and national pictures might impact the Albany Metro Service Area (MSA).

Anyone wanting to attend the forum, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn, can register through the Terry College of Business section of UGA’s website www.uga.edu.

Prices vary, with individual tickets starting at $65. Group tables are also available.