ATLANTA (AP) — An economic forecast predicts fewer jobs will be created in Georgia next year as the state's economy continues to grow, but at a slower pace.
The unemployment rate is forecast to rise to 4.2% in 2020, compared to an estimated 3.7% for all of 2019, according to the Georgia Economic Outlook. The report was presented Wednesday in Atlanta by University of Georgia Terry College of Business dean Benjamin Ayers, according to a news release from the school.
Nonfarm employment is expected to rise by 21,000 jobs statewide. That's over a third less than the 69,000 jobs the state is expecting to add in 2019, the report produced by UGA's Selig Center for Economic Growth found.
The “guiding light” of the 2020 economy will be consumers, Ayers said. Consumer spending, low interest rates and rising home values are expected to spur growth.
But international trade tensions are the main recession risk, according to Ayers.
“Georgia is the nation's 11th largest export state and 7th largest import state,” he said. Ayers said Georgia faces greater “exposure" than other states to the U.S. trade war with China and other trading partners.
A stock market correction or policy mistake by the Federal Reserve could put the state at risk for a recession as well, according to the report.
The economic outlook predicts job loss in agriculture, retail and manufacturing in Georgia in 2020. It says the vast majority of jobs created will be in trade-resistant industries such as education, health care, professional services and hospitality.
Gainesville and Atlanta are expected to set the pace for job growth statewide, according to the report. Columbus, Macon and Savannah are projected to see little to no job growth.
The report is going on tour. The Georgia Economic Outlook will be presented in eight other cities across the state.