Each January, the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia traverses the state presenting their economic outlook for the upcoming year. The forecast for 2019 included national GDP growth of 2.5%, less than 2018 growth of 3% and below the 2.9% average growth of the last 50 years. High asset prices, tight labor markets, and high federal budget deficits contributed to the projected slowdown. The biggest risks for 2019 are: 1) overvalued equity prices, 2) political upheaval, and 3) restrictive monetary policy.
Even in the face of a slowing national economy, the outlook for Georgia looks strong, as Georgia's economy is projected to grow faster than the national economy for the sixth straight year (3% versus 2.5%). Georgia's economy is helped by: 1) faster expansion of manufacturing industries, 2) more competitive economic development incentives, and 3) better prospects for Georgia's military bases. Job growth for the state is projected at 1.5%.
The Augusta market is projected to have higher job growth than the state (2.2% versus 1.5%). An increasing proportion of these jobs will be high-skilled and high-paying. Major contributors are: 1) the US Army Cyber Command, 2) the Georgia Cyber Training and Innovation Center, 3) the area's long-term focus on clinical healthcare, and 4) the area's universities. The Augusta economy is not very dependent on exports (3.8% of GDP) and therefore is not overly vulnerable to trade shocks. Augusta is helped immensely by the growth of Fort Gordon, which is expected to add more than 7,000 new jobs and 6,500 dependents by the end of 2023. Augusta's economy will continue to grow over the next 5+ years as cyber grows and related industries move to the area. Exciting times are ahead for the Garden City!