Key economist on prospects for Georgia and for Savannah

The quarterly economic forecasts of Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Georgia State University Economic Forecasting Center, always deserve attention. He has consistently been a clear voice of reason amidst a lot of hype about the state’s economy.

The AJC’s Atlanta economist says Euro crisis could undermine weak growth concludes with this list:

A look ahead at the economy

The outlook for the region and the nation, according to Rajeev Dhawan and other economists speaking at the quarterly Georgia State forecasting conference:

Jobs: Anemic job creation in Georgia next year, followed by better — but still modest — growth in 2013.

Housing: Home prices in Atlanta will not regain their lost ground for at least five more years as foreclosures and weak demand continue to burden the market.

Europe: The deepening crisis in Europe could turn weak U.S. growth into a recession by shaking the financial sector and undermining companies that do business on the continent.

Oil prices: We may be accustomed to $3-plus gas, but it is still a burden on consumer finances — and oil prices have been rising.

Incomes: Less than a quarter of new jobs will pay more than $60,000, including many who are self-employed and making relatively little.

The Savannah Morning News’ Forecast: Mild growth ahead for Savannah economy includes this:

The Savannah economy saw a little rise in employment in 2011, even as five of Georgia’s 11 metro areas experienced payroll declines from July through September.

“In the third quarter of 2011, Savannah’s employment increased a mild 0.1 percent, or 100 jobs, compared to levels a year ago,” Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University, said Wednesday.

Most hiring was done in the low-paying professional/business services and “other services” sectors as well as transportation-manufacturing and education/health segments. Shedding jobs were retailers and building contractors.

Metro Savannah’s job growth in 2012 should be a lackluster 0.8 percent, according to the center’s quarterly forecast.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that the jobs numbers for Savannah in October, released just yesterday and obviously not included in Dhawan’s 3rd quarter forecast, were absolutely dismal. They will probably eventually lead Dhawan and others to move Savannah into the camp of Georgia metro areas that have lost jobs over the past years.