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Economist starting to worry about Savannah's economy
Michael Toma - photo by Photo provided / Coastal Courier
SAVANNAH -- A regional economist is worried about where the Coastal Empire's economy is heading.
"The overall picture for the fourth quarter was deceptively strong," said Michael Toma, director of Armstrong State University's Center for Regional Analysis. "While the top level numbers look good, there was marked deterioration in the underlying data as the quarter progressed. At this time, early data available for the first quarter of the year suggests continued weakening."
The center's Coastal Empire Economic Monitor for the fourth quarter of 2007 was just put out. It is now available at
The report presents quarterly economic trends and short-term economic forecasts for Savannah's Metropolitan Statistical Area.
While Liberty and Long counties are technically outside of the Savannah's MSA, it does influence business here.
Data for the fourth quarter of 2007 showed that the economy of Coastal Empire continued to grow. However, much of that growth occurred in October, with clear signs of a cumulative weakening of the economy in the last two months of 2007, Toma said.
The 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.
"The forecasting index is sending a stronger signal about upcoming economic conditions that will be more challenging. The leading index plummeted by the largest amount in one quarter since 1990. Expectations for annualized growth in the regional economy have been adjusted downward to within 1.25 to 1.75 percent for the next six to nine months," Toma said.
Buddy Clay, revenue director for Savannah, uses the Economic Monitor to help him understand the economic trends affecting city revenue.
"The data in the Economic Monitor helps us understand some of the fluctuations in tax revenue for the city," Clay said. "Based on the data we see in the report, we will make adjustments to the revenue forecasts for the remaining of the year."
The quarterly report measures the heartbeat of the area 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 area's 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 Write "subscribe" in the subject line or body of the email.
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