A recession in 2020 is unlikely, according to three top economists addressing nearly 200 top business leaders at the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s Business Outlook Breakfast, sponsored for the seventh consecutive year by Southeastern Credit Union on February 11 at Rainwater Conference Center.
Economic experts assessed expected performance on the national, state and local levels. Dr. Roger Tutterow, Director of the Econometric Center at Kennesaw State University, Dr. Jeffery Humphreys, Director of Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, and Dr. Cynthia Tori, a professor of economics at Valdosta State University were in agreement that overall, the future looks bright for the U.S., the State of Georgia and Lowndes County.
“As a credit union, we have an obligation to serve the community and we can’t think of a better way than to support the Chamber,” said Mike Gudely, president of Southeastern Credit Union. “This breakfast is relevant to everyone in our community. Understanding the economy is incredibly important for all and we are delighted to help bring this opportunity.”
Tutterow noted that while an 11-year trend of growth is unusual, it does not necessarily indicate that a national recession is imminent. While Tutterow feels that the odds of a recession in 2020 are less than 30%, he noted that the Cornonavirus and possible the impacts of future tariffs can impact future growth.
Humphreys was likewise confident that a Georgia recession in 2020 is unlikely. Consumer spending, stability in Federal Reserve support, home building, increased development, higher defense spending, and continued population growth are the economic ingredients that will fuel future growth.
Trade deals and tariffs, he said, are the wild card. "Georgia is the 11th largest export state and 7th largest import state in agricultural goods,” Humphreys said. Trade wars have hit rural Georgia harder than other areas of the state and could lead to a mild recession for the rural areas in 2020 if expanded.
After reiterating what Tutterow and Humphreys said about economic growth, trade, and the Coronavirus, Tori went on to talk about the Chamber’s proposed Valdosta Area Business Incubator. “Business who get their start in a small business incubator have an 87% success rate,” said Tori. The failure rate for non-incubated startup businesses is about 80%.
Tori noted that the Lowndes housing market has stabilized and begun to improve, although we have yet to regain the pre-recession value of Lowndes County homes.
Tori touched on the structural changes happening in the retail market, economic headwinds that will affect the local area, and the strengths of the local labor force generated by VSU and Wiregrass Tech.
For more information on the Business Outlook Breakfast and future events, contact Betty Morgan at the Chamber at 229-247-8100 extension 234
PHOTO CAPTION: Dr. Cynthia Tori, professor of economics at Valdosta State University speaks on the economic outlook of Valdosta at the Chamber’s Business Outlook Breakfast.