In my last installment of this blog, I wrote about how uncertainty, primarily driven by politics, is stifling the national economy. While we might have to wait for November (or beyond) for some of that uncertainty to subside, there are some indicators that our local economy is turning around:
- Georgia's tax revenues are up approximately 7% versus last year and are up in every category (individual, sales and use, corporate). This is not because of raised tax rates, but rather a sign of a healthier economy.
- Georgia’s unemployment rate finally fell below double figures in November. While the uncertainty noted above is still impeding employment efforts, firm revenues and profits are encouraging enough to add on employees judiciously.
- Consumer confidence appears to be on the rise. Black Friday and Cyber Monday experienced large increases in sales over last year. People appear to be more willing to spend discretionary income which is a positive sign for the Cobb economy which depends significantly on retail and the hospitality industry.
- Firms have strengthened their balance sheets and processes such that they are now investing more on meeting their customers’ needs rather reducing costs, positioning themselves for success as the recovery accelerates.
We are by no means out of the woods. The uncertainty caused by the politicians in Washington continues to stifle the growth anticipated from a recovery. In addition, the specter of the European debt crisis and its potential collateral effects hang over us. However, when those obstacles are removed, Georgia, Cobb, and its businesses are poised for success.