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95.5 WSB Exclusive: Forecaster sees Georgia economy about to boom

As more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, the Georgia State Economic Forecasting Center predicts that our local economy will surge this spring.

According to a recent report from the center, despite the predicted boom in the coming months, a sustained economic recovery won’t come until next year.

This week, WSB’s Scott Slade spoke with Dr. Rajeev Dhawan, head of the GSU Economic Forecasting Center, about his take on COVID-19′s impact on our state and country as a whole.

Dr. Dhawan laid out how the pandemic could steer our local economy, when he expects a big boost and the main factor in whether we see a robust recovery.

>>Listen to the FULL interview below.

As the daily number of COVID-19 cases has gone up and down throughout the past year, Georgia’s “open for business” mentality has stood out across the country, especially when it comes to bars and restaurants.

But in other states, it’s a very different story. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, crippling lockdowns that have been going on for a year now are having a devastating impact on that area.

Here in Georgia, reopening the state early from the COVID-19 shutdowns has led to a lot of economic success, but there are trouble areas.

Last April, Georgia became one of the first states in the country to allow businesses to reopen as long as they followed state health guidelines.

Eleven months later, the U.S. economy is down 6% by an employment metric, according to GSU’s economic forecasting center. But Georgia is doing better.

“We are only 2% below our old norm. So, by that definition, we are doing better than the nation,” Dr. Dhawan explained. He added that Georgia’s recovery benefited from a brief shutdown. He told WSB that consumer spending is also up in the state, but a full recovery is tied to a successful vaccine rollout.

“People are buying online, but what needs to happen is the companies have to come back to normalcy,” Dr. Dhawan said.

>>Read more here.

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