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Athens' Economy Looks Good for 2018 According to UGA Economic Outlook


It was packed house at the Classic Center as hundreds converged on the facility for the Athens stop in the 2018 Economic Outlook series provided by The University of Georgia's Terry College. Dean Ben Ayers called the outlook for Georgia quite good. Among the factors cited, economic development projects, population growth, an upturn in the housing industry, and a supply of skilled labor.

Jeff Humphreys is the Director of Economic Forecasting at Terry. He says the news is good for Athens as well.

“The Athens economy sort of tilts toward higher education and healthcare, both industries will do well in 2018,” according to Humphreys. “Athens does not depend very heavily on manufacturing, construction or transportation logistics. And Athens also doesn’t depend that much on exports and therefore it’s overly vulnerable to foreign competition or trade shocks.”  

The report did mention some potential areas for concern.

“Delinquencies for auto loans are rising very quickly right now, so I think that banks are going to tighten credit a little bit. A couple other concerns, uncertainly about healthcare policy as well as the lack of administrative support for the Affordable Care Act. That’s going to limit growth of the healthcare industry. And finally, I’ll just mention low productivity growth, that’s been a problem for quite a while.”  

Among the highlights for Georgia, the film industry is expected to exceed $ 9 billion in 2018, construction of single family homes is expected to increase, as is the state’s gross domestic product will increase.