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AASU economic monitor sees regional recession

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POSTED: January 1, 2009 5:00 a.m.
SAVANNAH -- The Coastal Empire Economic Monitor for the third quarter of 2008 shows that the regional economy continued to lose ground as the rate of decline accelerated due in part to worsening conditions in the regional housing and labor markets. The Economic Monitor, published by Armstrong Atlantic State University’s Center for Regional Analysis, is available at http://www.econ.armstrong.edu/cra/monitor.htm.

The Coastal Empire coincident economic index, a measure of the regional economic heartbeat, declined 1.1 percent for the third quarter. It is the third consecutive quarterly drop amounting to an annualized rate of 4.4 percent since the beginning of the year.

“The preponderance of evidence suggests the regional economy entered a recession in the early part of this year,” said Michael Toma, director of AASU’s Center for Regional Analysis, which publishes the report. “The downward trend in current economic conditions has persisted through the third quarter and the weakness is broad-based as evidenced by declines in employment, tourism, shipping, retailing, housing, and labor market activity.”

Added Toma: “The signal from the forecasting index is that the Savannah metro economy will continue to face challenging economic conditions at least through the summer of 2009.”

The Economic Monitor’s leading and coincident indexes offer readers an informational tool that can be used to adjust to changes in regional demand conditions. The signals provided by the indicators may be used to control inventory, optimize staffing, adjust marketing or pricing strategies, forecast revenue, or capitalize on other opportunities in the regional economy.

"I have been utilizing the Economic Monitor for quite some time,” said Rhett Mouchet, broker-in-charge for Melaver Mouchet, a leading commercial real estate brokerage firm serving Savannah, Coastal Georgia and the South Carolina Low Country. “I find that it is helpful in orienting my regional and national clients to Savannah's economy and business base. I find it a very helpful tool for my own presentations when discussing local demographics with developers and investors."

The Economic Monitor presents quarterly economic trends and short-term economic forecasts for Savannah’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The quarterly report measures the heartbeat of the local economy, based on the analysis of economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the City of Savannah, Georgia Power, and the three counties in the MSA -- Chatham, Bryan, and Effingham. The report presents a short-term forecast of the region’s economic activity in the next six to nine months.

The Economic Monitor is available free by electronic mail. To subscribe, email emonitor@armstrong.edu. Write “subscribe” in the subject line or body of the email.

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AASU’s Center for Regional Analysis meets the applied research needs of Savannah's business and community organizations. Areas of concentrated research include regional economic forecasting, economic impact analysis, economic development and business expansion, tourism development, survey-based research, and specialty reports on topics of state, regional and local interest. The center's activities are intended to appeal to a broad range of constituencies, and the center stands ready to enter into cooperative partnerships with public, private, and community organizations.
 

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