7:30 am October 27, 2009, by Henry Unger
It seems to be too rosy of an employment picture, but I hope he’s right.
After a few more rough quarters, University of West Georgia economist William “Joey” Smith predicted that local and state unemployment will fall dramatically beginning in next year’s second quarter.
Smith predicted that metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate would drop to 9.2 percent in the second quarter, from 10.4 percent in the first quarter, according to a university statement today. The statement was issued in conjunction with the university’s annual economic forecasting breakfast.
“The good news is the bad news is close to being over,” Smith said in the statement. “The recovery so far has been driven by optimism in the stock market and a bounce in consumer confidence.”
By the fourth quarter of next year, Smith said metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate would retreat to 6.5 percent. That would be an enormous decline from the current rate of 10.5 percent.
For the state, Smith predicted Georgia’s unemployment rate would fall to 8.8 percent in the second quarter of next year. That would be down from 10.2 percent in the first quarter.
By the fourth quarter, Smith predicted the state unemployment rate would be down to 6.1 percent — another tremendous fall from the current rate of 10.1 percent.
Some economists have been considerably more pessimistic than Smith is.
For example, many economists believe the national unemployment rate, which is currently lower than both the Atlanta and Georgia rates, will only decline to about 9 percent by the end of next year.
Are the city and state going to become that much stronger than the nation so quickly?
As they say, time will tell how good Smith’s economic model is.
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