VALDOSTA – The Business Outlook hosted by the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and presented by Commercial Banking Company forecasts positive economic growth for 2021.
Typically held in-person during a breakfast, the chamber and CBC Bank worked closely with local production company, Event Point, to live stream three economic experts: Dr. Roger Tutterow, Kennesaw State University, Cole’s College of Business; Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys, University of Georgia Terry College of Business; and Dr. Cynthia R. Tori, Valdosta State University Langdale College of Business, who presented national, state and local economic outlooks, respectively, chamber officials said in a statement.
Daryn Russell, president and chief executive officer of CBC Bank, opened the presentation. After briefly reflecting on the innovation we have seen while finding “new ways to do business” throughout the pandemic, he expressed a hopeful sentiment for the local economy before introducing Tutterow.
Tutterow brought “a positive outlook which some viewers may have found surprising,” chamber officials said. The economist reminded viewers that last year at the same event, he announced that we were running about 126 months into the longest expansion of the post-World War II era. Since then, our nation and the world have experienced major economic impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Believe it or not, the economy is growing again,” Tutterow said.
But Tutterow reminded the audience “we still have a lot of work to rebuild this economy.”
Humphreys reported on the economic climate of Georgia. His findings reflected those of Tutterow.
“My forecast for Georgia for 2021 is actually very positive,” he said while forecasting continuous recovery from the negative impact of the pandemic.
He said due to the pandemic policies set by state leaders which allowed most businesses to continue working at some level during the pandemic, the COVID-19 recession “only lasted three months.”
Despite the brevity, the recession caused a great deal of damage.
“The loss of jobs in Georgia was 11% and that’s worse than the great recession,” he said.
Humphreys added the recession “did less damage to Georgia’s economy than the national economy,” setting us up for success in the latter half of the year.
Tori offered the final presentation, reporting on the economic outlook of the local community. Though Tori sees growth, she does not see it happening quickly.
“My forecast for 2021 is for gradual improvements through the first and second quarters of 2021 with a more robust recovery during the second half of the year,” she said.
“It was no surprise to viewers that Valdosta businesses have been innovative and resilient, which will aid the forecasted upturn,” chamber officials said.
“Our community is focused in a determined way on innovation and economic growth,” Tori said.
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