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Professor Thinks "Worst is Behind Us"
Sunday, 03 May 2009

May 3--  An economics expert at the University of Georgia thinks the economy will start turning around by the end of the year.

ImageJeff Humphreys is the director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the university's business college. He calls the current economic condition "The Great Recession" and believes the worst is behind us.

"I think we're about two-thirds of the way though this recession, so most of the really bad stuff is behind us.  I'm expecting an upturn in economic activity in the fourth quarter of this year, so we just have to get through this quarter and the next quarter and things will start getting better in terms of production.  In terms of new jobs, that's going to lag a little bit, it always does when you come out of a recession.  I think the job numbers will start looking better in the second quarter of 2010, but still I think the heavy job losses are behind us at this point," he predicts.

Humphreys was the keynote speaker at an economic issues conference in Vidalia hosted by the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce.

He thinks Georgia is well-positioned to profit when the national economy starts turning around.  "Georgia is joined at the hip with the national economy with respect to this economic cycle, but we do have some good demographics going for us once we come out.  I think we're going to see lots of retirement-based economic development in this state and I do think we'll out-perform the national economy when the recovery starts, but perhaps not by leaps and bounds," he says.

Humphreys says when the economy starts improving, people need to have confidence they can get credit from their banks.  "We need people to get to the point where they believe if they go to their bank, they can get credit.  We're not at that point yet.  I don't expect credit to lead the recovery, it always follows, but we need confidence for people to feel like the financial sector will provide them credit if they have a good business plan and are a good risk," he noted.

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