SMN: The local economy in 2013

I’ve already made some predictions for the local economy in 2013. I’m fairly upbeat about the prospects for continued growth, especially in light of the surge in employment in the second half of 2012.

Check out my post from last week: Where’s the Savannah economy headed in 2013?, which has a link to my recent City Talk column with predictions for the new year.

And be sure to check out this long piece today in the Savannah Morning News from Mary Carr Mayle and Adam Van Brimmer: The local economy in 2013: A look ahead |

The key paragraph:

The economy is expected to continue its moderate — but still subpar — pace of growth, as consumers, businesses and governments adjust to the new normal of fiscal constraint.

I generally agree with the various broader trends and specific details discussed in the piece, which covers tourism, banking, real estate, jobs, manufacturing, the ports, economic development, and small business.

Just a couple of details with which I would quibble. There’s a suggestion that the start of the long-discussed dredging of the Savannah River might “stress” the industrial sector in real estate. We had a lot of excess capacity right now, so I doubt we’ll see such demand in 2013.

And will New Hampstead High School spur development in the “fallow New Hampstead developments”? That’s a tricky call. New construction is certainly going to continue picking up in 2013 in West Chatham, but there’s still a whole lot of excess capacity in neighborhoods that have already been partially built.

And there are no population or employment centers — or even retail shops — within several miles of the new high school. Parents or employees interested in living close to the high school will be making a devil’s bargain. Their children will have shorter commutes to school, but every other trip will take longer and eat up a lot of gas.

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens out there in those big vacant swaths that are curiously within the Savannah city limits. The city spent over $10 million on infrastructure out there before the downturn.

But those are small quibbles. The entire piece is well worth a read.